As we have said several times, it has been no secret that the military junta wants to retain power.
The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha has long lied that he has no interest in remaining premier. Such declaimers have been a political ruse, to allow for others to “soften up” the country (along with the deep repression of political opponents) for continued military rule, with Prayuth transitioning from junta premier to a “civilianized” regime with him as unelected premier following a military arranged and run “election” under “rules” established by the junta.
The “rules” were the military’s charter that is still being modified to support The Dictator and the junta following the “referendum.”
One of the tasks includes finishing off the Shinawatra clan and the Puea Thai Party, using politicized “independent” agencies such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and the judiciary.
“Newer” tasks for the junta is to arrange for “public” support (or at least neutralize much of the actual and potential opposition).
This involves having tame media and “academics” essentially saying that The Dictator is “popular” or “better” than alternative premiers and, again, “softening up” the citizenry to the “inevitability” of continuing military rule under the constitution’s semi-elected regime.
One example of an “academic” in support of military dictatorship is Khien Theerawit, who reckons that unelected premiers are far superior to the elected variety. He’s been criticized as a turncoat, but Khien has supported the yellow and anti-democratic elements since 2004 or 2005. He’s remembered as a democratic activist in the 1970s, but this is a misrepresentation. He was a Maoist and pro-China activist who only supported democratic politics as a means to gaining support for China and Maoism.
An example of the media softening up is The Nation. Just in the past couple of days it has had several stories supportive of Prayuth for Dictator-Prime Minister and for military dominance of “electoral” politics.
One article wrote uncritically of the long history of military rule. The article makes military dominance almost a piece of Thai culture: “Thai democracy has long featured political parties that are either involved with the military or serve as military nominees, so the birth of a new one has not raised any eyebrows.”
Another article refers to The Dictator as “popular.” The suggestion is that all existing political parties (except Puea Thai) are keen to join a military dominated regime. No surprises there. It has only been Puea Thai that was able to break the tossed salad model that is Thai political “parties” dominated by gangsters and sycophants of local tyrants.
Then, of course, there is The Dictator’s own ambitions being advertised. Prayuth has “offered” to “continue serving as government leader after the next election…”. He craves and relishes power, so the “offer” is merely his post-referendum “coming out.”
Prayuth and his supporters seem to think that the future is set, their way.