Updated: Strangling the Puea Thai Party

A series of reports at the Bangkok Post show that the military junta’s plans – implemented from before the 2014 coup – to destroy the Puea Thai Party are proceeding apace.

One Bangkok Post story states that a “government committee has concluded that Yingluck Shinawatra must pay 35.7 billion baht in compensation for losses from her rice-pledging programme from 2012-14.” That’s more than a billion dollars.

That may not be enough as the “military regime pursues several other cases against the former premier, including compensation for losses from the ‘poorly planned’ responses to the severe flooding in 2011.” After all, her brother is listed as being worth $1.7 billion, and the regime probably wants all of that or wants Yingluck in prison.

As the Puea Thai Party has pointed out, Yingluck is “still being tried in the Supreme Court in connection with the rice scheme,” making it “inappropriate to use administrative orders to demand compensation unless culpability is legally established first.”

If this manipulation of power to crush Yingluck is not sufficient, the regime has let it be known that she will likely “be prosecuted for failing to deal effectively with the 2011 floods…”. Such a case would not only be unprecedented but would require a remarkable investigative effort (except that finding truth and facts are not in the TOR for most of these witch hunts).

Another Bangkok Post has the Puea Thai Party pointing out that General Prayuth Chan-ocha has used Article 44 to authorize the “seizure, confiscation and auction of properties of those accused of being responsible for the [rice] scheme’s losses” while also “granting protection to officials involved in filing civil liability lawsuits against the accused.”

The Party states that the junta’s intentions are clear: “to implicate former prime minister Yingluck … in the huge losses the rice scheme incurred without following legal procedures.”

It seems the political writing is on the wall. The “big” parties – the (anti)Democrats and Puea Thai – are both doomed to be smaller and probably much smaller. The new “election” system means “the bigger the party, the more prone it will be to shrinking.”

The system will be rigged to produce weak coalition government that will allow the military junta to continue to be politically powerful and will probably allow a military premier.

The complex election system, combined with the cases designed to financially cripple the Shinawatra clan, ban several of them and their senior politicians and (perhaps) to imprison some of them, is a strangling of the party.

As with the “referendum,” the “election” will deliver what the junta wants.

Update: Readers will be interested to know that Thailand’s military dictator has declared that the 15 individual cases against Yingluck do not amount to a witch hunt. He is quoted as saying: “the statute of limitation in the compensation case expires in February next year, and said he gave no instruction to any agency to rush the order.” That’s not what the reporting of this case has shown.

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