In a recent post, PPT briefly mentioned the complaint by the junta of nasty “politicians” causing ill-will towards the military dictatorship over its ham-fisted flood relief operations in the south. It was junta spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd who declared that “[s]ome politicians in Songkhla are behind a move to stir up dissent against the government…”. As we said, he was pointing a finger at the Democrat Party.
The junta saw farmers “rallying” and got to worrying, seeing a political plot.
In response, the Bangkok Post reports that former Democrat Party MP for Songkhla Thaworn Senniam has emerged to refuted the junta’s claims. He essentially declares that the Democrat Party is helping, not stirring trouble.
He claimed “that the affected farmers asked another Democrat MP … to relay their complaints to state authorities…”. At the same time, he did identify faults: “Do not listen only to reports from officials. Hear the voices of ordinary people like us…”. He complained: “But the government overlooks our good will.”
Former Democrat Party MP Wirat Kalayasiri concurred. He said “that farmers who were facing shortages of rice seeds as a result of floods gathered to call for help from the Songkhla governor, but little progress had been made in addressing the problem.” There was “no intention of inciting any public disturbances.”
Wirat pointed a finger back at the junta: “We allow the government to run the country and it should not slander us without verifying the facts. No Songkhla politicians were involved in inciting unrest…”.
These are strong words from the anti-democrats, suggesting an undercurrent of discontent with the regime’s bureaucratism.
The south is critical for the junta’s “election” planning. If The Dictator is to continue to rule Thailand, the alliance with anti-democrats in the region is critical, just as it was for bringing down the Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.
But retreat is not in the junta’s political playbook. Lt Gen Sansern said “he would want to have an understanding with Songkhla politicians that the government is ready to solve the problems of farmers and the people. So they should not be worried about this matter.”
That is the junta’s usual bureaucratic paternalism – we can solve all problems from the top down. The response included an assertion that the bureaucracy had everything in hand.
Thaworn again pointed an angry finger at the regime: “The prime minister and Lt Gen Sansern should visit the affected farmers and listen to their concerns for themselves…”.
How far will the junta want to go in attacking the Democrat Party? How far are the Democrat Party southerners prepared to go in expressing their discontent? Will there be a southern reconciliation? We reckon the Democrat Party needs the junta more than the junta needs the southern politicians.