The Nation comments on the unusual scene that has Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong linking with a pro-junta political party and campaigning for Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to remain prime minister for the indefinite future.
That Sontirat may be engaging in activity that may be illegal is not something to bother a military regime that came to power in an illegal coup, is rigging an “election,” and that engages in lying as often as it represses political opponents.
Sontirat admitted that:
he had met with politicians on different occasions, including during this week’s Cabinet retreat in Ubon Ratchathani province. He added that he had discussed with them what should be done for the country…. Sontirat said that in Ubon early this week he met Supol Fong-ngam, a former Pheu Thai Party MP for the northeastern province.
Supol has “defected from Pheu Thai and voiced his support for Prime Minister Prayut.”
The junta has gotten away with so many actions that rig and “election” that a sense of arrogance can now be seen in such brazen broadcasting of the junta’s cabinet ministers’ electoral campaigning.
Sontirat said the government – he means the junta – needs “to talk with and listen to politicians, because politicians are close to the people.”
Huh? The junta spent more than three years saying politicians were evil bastards and now needs “evil bastards” to manufacture its long-term political superiority a la the Gen Prem Tinsulanonda regime of the 1980s.
When he says that the “ongoing Input from politicians allows the government to learn about the needs of people in different areas of the country…”, Sontirat is contradicting The Dictator, but we see his point. We doubt Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, The Dictator and The Oracle, will agree. Prayuth has convinced himself that he knows better than anyone else in the country.
As a footnote, “Sontirat dismissed as a rumour media reports that he was going to become secretary-general of Palang Pracharat.” Sort of. He added: “When I am ready to accept the position, I will tell the media. I have not made my decision…”.
Whether he takes a official position in that Party hardly matters. He’s campaigning for them and for The Dictator. In any case, he confirmed he is working with Palang Pracharath. Again, he’s flouting electoral law, but arrogance and power trump law under the junta.