It seems to some of PPT’s pundits that preparations for the military junta’s election are moving along. The signals are getting stronger.
For one thing, the middle classes seem to be getting bored with the military dictatorship. They are increasingly disgruntled by poor economic data and are beginning to complain about corruption. Another sign is that the military has seemingly filled its shopping list for new kit, just in case a civilianized post-“election” regime is less able to hand over all that lovely equipment.
The hopeless anti-Election Commission recently let it be known that it believes that the earliest the junta could arrange its election is sometime about August 2018.
More telling of the preparations being made is the continuing efforts to neuter the red shirts, the Thaksin clan and the Puea Thai Party. One of the major “cases” against Yingluck Shinawatra is drawing to a close. The linked report states:
A not guilty verdict is unlikely…. A not guilty verdict would be a huge blow for the junta. It would exonerate Yingluck while galvanising her support and the populist movement. The trial has already cost the junta a significant amount of money. It would threaten the junta’s hold on power while calls for a return to civilian-led democracy would grow louder.
But a guilty verdict would pave the way for an “election” with the Shinawatra clan further “damaged.” That said, her supporters are fighting back and are not done yet.
In another case, despite two courts rejecting accusations against him, the junta’s more politically reliable and predictable Supreme Court has jailed red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan to a year in prison for defaming former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Plenty on Abhisit’s side of politics were able to defame red shirt leaders and their supporters and used state power to murder dozens of them, but it is Jatuporn who is jailed.
The military and the royalist elite rightly consider Jatuporn a threat because he is a powerful orator and organizer. They have jailed him several times in recent years, overturned election results to keep him out of parliament and more. Yet red shirts also remain defiant.
Meanwhile, the courts have continued to exonerate yellow shirts. Clearly, the junta knows who its opponents and supporters are as it prepares to civilianize its political authoritarianism via an “election.”