The Dictator has confirmed this in a strong statement that shows it cares little about international attention – the West is fickle and distracted while China deals with anyone while, like the U.S. during the Cold War, prefers long-term political stability where it is dealing.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha declared that the junta would not lift its ban on political activities and that his military regime would not allow election campaigns to proceed unhindered once it decides to allow campaigning. The junta itself campaigns as it wishes, where it wishes, and with the full resources of the state and its security and military services.
Gen Prayuth said he is in no hurry to repeal the ban. Why would he be when he has the field to himself and the political parties are supine and prepared to wait for the morsels he throws them. Naturally enough, the pro-military parties have more room to move.
The Dictator claimed that promised “talks” with parties “would … determine which activities could be allowed…”. For Prayuth, “talks” means the junta telling the parties what they can do, sort of, for the junta wants sufficient ambiguity to allow it room to smash opponents when it feels the need.
He plainly stated that “parties should not expect to run their election campaigns freely.” He said:
An election campaign must proceed in compliance with the framework and it should be approved on a case-by-case basis. However, certain activities may not require approval. That’s how the ban is to be lifted. Some activities need approval and some don’t….
We [the junta] need to find a way to maintain peace and order to make sure there is no trouble before we get to democracy….
Gen Prayuth uses the word “democracy” to mean a regime that emerges after unfree and unfair rigged elections where the military continues to run the country with himself as premier.
The chairman of the Election Commission Supachai Somcharoen rolled over, as the Constitutional Court did, let Prayuth rub his tummy and said it was up to the junta to lift the ban whenever it felt like it.
The military junta is winning this election campaign. The only possible outcome it contemplates is victory.