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Old 09-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thai prime minister insists she’s not her exiled brother’s puppet

Thai prime minister insists she’s not her exiled brother’s puppet - The Washington Post

Thai prime minister insists she’s not her exiled brother’s puppet


STRINGER/INDONESIA/REUTERS -
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) and Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pose for photographers before their bilateral meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali on Nov. 8, 2012.

By Gwen Robinson and David Pilling | Financial Times,
Friday, November 9, 12:07 AM


BANGKOK — Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s prime minister, has insisted that she has a firm grip on policy as defends herself against critics who claim she remains in the shadow of her elder brother, Thaksin, the exiled former leader.

“People didn’t know me the first day when I stepped from the business environment into politics,” Yingluck told the Financial Times. “I was new to politics, but I was not new to the business side. After some time, I think I have proved I can handle and overcome all surprises.”

Since her election in August 2011, Yingluck, 45, has survived a legal challenge to her government, an economic downturn and Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century.

The army has stayed in its barracks despite fears of yet another coup <cut>

“More than one year has passed. We understand how we need to improve each policy and how we would like to move Thailand forward,” she said in an interview in the ornate reception room of Government House in Bangkok.

Yingluck, who will meet Prime Minister David Cameron in Britain next week, recently named a new cabinet that bears more of her own imprint.

Critics point to the elevation of some Thaksin loyalists after the recent expiry of a five-year court ban on their political activities. But her promotion and retention of favored ministers outside the Thaksin camp, including finance minister Kittirat Na-ranong, showed growing assertiveness, according to Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a professor at Chulalongkorn University.

“Yingluck has increasingly come into her own,” he said. “She listens to Thaksin, but he controls [the ruling] Pheu Thai party more than she does. It’s like he is chairman of the board and she is CEO.”

Thitinan said Yingluck could become a “bridge builder” between pro-Thaksin “red shirt” supporters and “yellow-shirted” monarchists. So far, the opposing camps have avoided a repeat of their bloody clashes in 2010 but tensions remain.

The opposition Democrat party has criticized what it describes as Yingluck’s populist policies, including a minimum wage and a generous rice subsidy scheme. The most recent national Abac poll shows that 53 percent of voters would reelect Yingluck’s party against 36 percent for the Democrats.

Yingluck said her new cabinet — dubbed Yingluck 3 because she has already reshuffled ministers once — would be forward-looking and would disprove notions that she is just a front for her brother, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

“Be fair to me and let me prove I can run the country,” Yingluck said.

Thaksin, who speaks frequently of his desire to return to Thailand, continues to undermine his sister’s authority by suggesting he runs the government from his self-imposed exile. He hopes to overturn a two-year jail sentence on corruption-related charges that he claims were politically motivated.

This week, Thaksin abruptly canceled a planned gathering of his “red shirt” supporters in a Burmese town on the Thai border, citing security concerns.

Thitinan said the former prime minister had “done Thailand a favor” by staying away. Many fear his return could plunge the country back into the political violence that for years pitted his “red shirt” supporters against “yellow shirt” royalists.

“So far he has been willing to stay in exile and run Thailand virtually by remote control,” he said.

Yingluck for now appears to have abandoned attempts to secure her brother a pardon, which would clear the path for his return. While she praised her brother’s “many good policies,” she stressed that she was running the country.

“We have new policies . . . he hasn’t the chance [now] to run the country,” she said.

She said she had gone some way toward closing the red-yellow divide. She made light of a no-confidence motion later this month, saying it was a positive sign that political battles were now being fought in parliament rather than on the streets.

Yingluck’s premiership has been shaken by last year’s floods, which killed more than 500 people and badly damaged Thailand’s manufacturing base, especially car and computer production. Her government, though criticized for its handling of the floods, took extraordinary measures to help companies, particularly the Japanese manufacturers that dominate Thai industry.

Far from leaving Thailand, as the government had feared, Japanese companies appear to be increasing investments, due to the strong yen and, in some cases, to relocate production from China amid a growing anti-Japan backlash over a maritime dispute. This month, Nissan became the latest to expand its Thai production base, announcing a new $380 million car plant near Bangkok.

Yingluck’s much-criticized handling of the flood-related crisis was among her only regrets, she said. “We lost about three months solving the problem of flooding. I wish I could gain this time back, because we have many things to do.”
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This has been photoshopped, but if you look closely you can still see the strings......
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Was It not Josef Goebbels ,who announced "the bigger the lie the more it is believed"
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Gimme a break lady. I like Yingluck (cause she's a MILF), but why even try to pretend otherwise? Nobody believes it, everyone knows the opposite is true, hell her supporters WANT THAT...who's she trying to convince and why is beyond me. The only people she might possibly convince of that would be international leaders, and it would take a pretty naive/thick one to buy that nonsense!
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Old 24-12-2012, 05:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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'Lackey' PM risks exile | Bangkok Post: news

'Lackey' PM risks exile

Thaksin hold will break Yingluck, says Suthep Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be driven out of the country unless she is able to shake off her brother Thaksin's influence, Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban said Sunday.


Suthep: ‘Truth’ push working

The former Democrat secretary-general said Ms Yingluck would end up sharing her brother's fate if she carried on acting as his lackey.

However, she still has a chance to keep the public's confidence if she learns to exercise her own leadership instead, he said.

"If she continues to follow Thaksin's orders and protects his and their family's interests, she will face a public backlash and won't be able to stay in the country," Mr Suthep said.

Mr Suthep said the Democrat Party has been working hard outside parliament to oppose Thaksin, whom he says has been running the show from overseas.

The Democrats' nationwide campaign to "tell the truth" about the government's hidden agenda and its populist policies has begun to bear fruit, he said.

The public, especially rice farmers, rubber planters and oil palm growers, are becoming increasingly aware of how disastrous Thaksin-style populism can be, Mr Suthep said.

He said he hopes the public will grow wise to the agendas of Thaksin and the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.

Mr Suthep said Thaksin is unlikely to stop until he reclaims his seized assets and is able to return home without having to serve the two-year jail term handed to him in 2008 for abuse of power.

Mr Suthep said the criminal proceedings filed against himself and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in connection with the crackdown on the 2010 red-shirt protests were part of a calculated move by the government.

At the time, Mr Suthep was deputy prime minister and director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, in charge of the red-shirt protest crackdown, while Mr Abhisit was prime minister.

Mr Suthep said the criminal prosecution is an attempt to pressure him and Mr Abhisit to join the government's push for the charter amendment and national reconciliation bills aimed at whitewashing Thaksin.

Both the charter amendment bill and the national reconciliation bills are pending parliament scrutiny.

Mr Suthep and Mr Abhisit have been charged with murder by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in connection with the death of a taxi driver from Yasothon.

The charge follows the Criminal Court's ruling that the taxi driver was killed by bullets fired by soldiers taking part in military operations to disperse red shirts in 2010.

The DSI is considering pressing hundreds of additional charges, including attempted murder and physical assault, in connection with the 2010 political violence as about 2,000 people were injured in the military operations.The Democrat MP said he is disturbed the government and red shirts have accused state authorities of murder.

Mr Suthep said the soldiers deployed in the operations acted in line with the government's instructions to restore peace and order. Several of them were also killed and hundreds were injured, he said.

Mr Suthep also called on the government, especially Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and the DSI, to stop making comments deemed offensive to the troops.

He said a group of 30 lawyers led by Khanueng Ruecha have volunteered to provide legal assistance to military officers who may face charges.

"Those soldiers received little help, while the government paid compensation to the red shirts. It is demoralising," Mr Suthep said.

The Democrat MP insisted the murder charge and several other possible charges are politically motivated and intended to hold him and others hostage.

The government is trying to set conditions forcing the opposition and the public to accept the wholesale charter amendment and national reconciliation law, which Mr Suthep termed an "amnesty law" for Thaksin.

"They think that if everyone faces a charge, we will go for an amnesty. But I can tell you that they are wrong. We will fight to protect the rule of law and we will not flee," he said.
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Old 24-12-2012, 05:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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^ Some rather odd/disturbing stuff in there from Suthep.
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Old 26-12-2012, 09:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Government dubbed 'Brother First' in annual reporters' awards | Bangkok Post: news

Government dubbed 'Brother First' in annual reporters' awards Government House reporters have dubbed the Yingluck Shinawatra administration the "Brother First" government, for giving priority to the prime minister's elder brother and fugitive, former premier Thaksin, a while giving other problems lower priorities.


Yingluck Shinawatra - Poo Kanchiang

It is a tradition of Government House reporters at the end of each year give the government, the prime minister and some cabinet ministers an invented name to describe their character traits and flaws.

The reporters decided on "Poo Kanchiang (ปูกรรเชียง)" for the prime minister. Poo is Ms Yingluck's nickname. Kanchiang is a Thai word which describes Ms Yingluck's propensity to sidestep questions and fail to clearly explain important issues as the rice-pledging scheme and the 350-billion-baht water management project.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was labelled "lron Goalkeeper (นายทวารเหล็กไหล)" for his manipulation and diversion of reporters' questions. His style and tactics have remained the same throughout his political career - creating diversions by revealing other information to the divert attention away from questions asked by the media.


Chalerm Yubamrung - lron Goalkeeper

His "facts" are often questionable and open to interpretation, but the main goal is to save the government's rear end at all costs and hence the nickname the "Iron Goalkeeper" was awarded to him.

With a job well done on his part, Mr Chalerm has secured a firm grip over the administration's high ranking position as a "loyal servant" and "protector" of the government.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong was dubbed the "White Lie Chick (ลูกไก่ไวท์ไล)" because he discredited himself with his too-good-to-be-true comments about Thailand's economic growth.

The "chick" is derived from his own nickname "Tong", which means rooster in Thai, but his performance has not yet met people's expectations, so he can be only a chick.


Surapong Tovichakchaikul - Job-Picky Servant

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul earned the name "Job-Picky Servant (เบ้เลือกจ๊อบ)" because he continually worked on different tasks to facilitate the "Man from Dubai's" interests but failed to carry out other foreign affairs - tasks that are arguably more relevant.

The reporters nicknamed Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi "Water Capitalist (ปั้นน้ำเป็นทุน)" for his responsibility in overseeing the country's flood problem. Mr Plodprasop took credit for himself as the country has been spared another big flood this year.

In the previous reshuffle, he was promoted to the post of deputy premier and put in charge of managing the 350 billion baht flood prevention projects.

Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan was labelled the "Singha Reserve (สิงห์สำรอง)". The nickname is derived from the Interior Ministry, which has adopted Singha, a mythological lion, as its seal. However Mr Jarupong is merely seen as a string-puppet for his role as both the interior minister and the ruling Pheu Thai Party leader. On top of that, he was considered to be the most convenient choice to replace his predecessor, embattled former deputy prime minister Yongyuth Wichaidit.


Boonsong Teriyapirom - Boonsud

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom has the nickname of "Boon Sud (บุญทรุด) (Sud means to subside in Thai)". The reporters were of the view that Mr Boonsong was in charge of the government's rice pledging scheme and dealing with product prices but he was heavily criticised for not being able to deliver successfully. Instead of helpoing the government to get credit from several policies, Mr Boonsong has become a weak link in the government as he could not explain the government-to-government controversial rice deals.

The reporters called ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat, the defence minister, the "Handsome Man Hunter (ตามล่าหน้าหล่อ)" due to his persistent pursuit to strip Democrat Party and Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, a man who the public considers to be good looking, of military rank.

Transport Minister Chatchart Sittipan was dubbed "Foreman on Standby (โฟร์แมนสแตนด์บาย)" because he was considered to be the talented newcomer who completed various construction projects quickly and was always ready for a new assignment.

The alias given to Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister and red-shirt co-leader Nattawut Saikuar is the "Fake Peasant (ไพร่เทียม)" . The explanation behind his alias is that Mr Nattawut is the only one in the red-shirt camp who was appointed a minister and he survived the latest cabinet reshuffle.




Exile threat unwelcome | Bangkok Post: opinion

EDITORIAL

Exile threat unwelcome When Suthep Thaugsuban promised two months ago to step up political campaigns against what he viewed as the government's hidden agenda and populist policies, he wasn't kidding.

His Democrat party has held weekly rallies in several provinces to tell the public "the truth" about what he believes are the government's missteps.

As ever, the Democrats claim former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is exerting his influence behind the government's every move.

Mr Suthep's bold assertion in an interview with this newspaper early this week that prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be driven out of the country and end up in exile just like her brother begs for a clearer explanation.

Mr Suthep claimed that, unless Ms Yingluck could shake off her brother's influence and stop protecting his and their family's interests, she would face a public backlash and would not be able to stay in the country.

There is no question that this is a strong assertion on the part of the former deputy prime minister. The problem with the remark is it could be read as a threat against the nation's popularly elected political leader.
How would Ms Yingluck end up as in exile? Is Mr Suthep suggesting the return of a coup? Is he saying that mobs would overthrow the government?

Stipulate that every Thai citizen has the right to free speech. Stipulate further that Mr Suthep's comment on the prime minister did not call for immediate violence _ one of the few legal restraints on free speech. And concede even further that his comments did not defame Ms Yingluck.

Mr Suthep's speech met every legal test. It was his opinion, stated freely, not at all slanderous and resulting in no violence by his followers, either on the ground or later in the media.

Despite all of that, however, it is still decidedly fair and pertinent to question that outburst. It was not a direct, physical threat to the prime minister, or to the national institutions.

It was, however, a threat to manners, to the political process, and ultimately to our society and culture. There may be some debate over whether Thailand is still the Land of Smiles. That is not the same as saying it is a land of reviles.

There is still a clear line marking civil discussion in the country.

Lamentable, but true enough: speakers at rallies for the People's Alliance for Democracy and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship have often crossed the civility line. But none of them was a deputy prime minister, or the secretary-general of the country's oldest and one of the most respected political parties.

Mr Suthep suggested prime minister Yingluck could keep the public's confidence if she learns to become her own woman and governs the country with the nation's interests at heart, rather than as a nominee for her brother. That was a constructive suggestion. The accompanying threat of exile was unnecessary.

Ms Yingluck, Mr Suthep and any other politician are legitimate targets for criticism. That is all the more reason why they have an extra obligation to stress that political disagreements should be settled at the ballot box. Threats and near-slanderous attacks are unacceptable.
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Old 26-12-2012, 10:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Suthep thinking about exile. Interesting.
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Old 26-12-2012, 11:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Suthep has proven again and again to be a total dick, so nobody should feel too surprised to hear him shooting off at the mouth.
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Old 31-12-2012, 12:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Show some independence, PM told - The Nation

Show some independence, PM told

The Nation December 31, 2012 1:00 am

Senator Prasarn Marukpitak asked the government and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to set an example for the public in positive thinking - by being independent and not under the influence of her brother, ex-prime minister Thaksin.


Prasarn was responding to Yingluck's New Year message in which she asked the public to think positively, be merciful and compassionate to others and listen to each other in order to welcome new opportunities and allow the country to achieve sustainable development.

The senator said Yingluck in particular should be herself and not influenced by Thaksin as in previous years. "Khun Yingluck should moreover place importance on and be responsible for the work of parliament, instead of ignoring it and staying away from all problems like last year," he said.

There were several ways to help the country out of its present dilemma, he said - stop reviewing the entire Constitution, review the rice-pledging scheme, and for the premier to be responsible about the Parliament's works and emerge from Thaksin's influence.

Meanwhile, Senate vice president Surachai Liengboonlertchai said he wished the prime minister would think positively in the year to come and commit to the benefit of the country and people, rather than of political leaders.



5% growth expected in the year ahead: PM - The Nation

5% growth expected in the year ahead: PM

Nakharin Srilert
The Nation December 31, 2012 1:00 am


Yingluck vows to run a steady ship, will heed advice and criticism in 2013

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expects economic growth of 4.5-5.5 per cent next year while the government is geared up to develop the economy as planned on expectation of annual expansion of 5 per cent.

The government is looking for new markets and free-trade deals to assist exporters while continuing the rice-pledging scheme, trying to control public debt, overseeing the fiscal stance and developing of agricultural zones to raise prices of farm products.

Yingluck said that in 2013, the government would focus on policy continuity and economic balance to lessen impacts from weakening exports and lower export dependency.

Stimulating the economy

Next year, the government would continue to stimulate the economy through infrastructure investment in water and transport systems, and raise the income of people and farmers.

"The country's economy may need to change in some parts. Previously, about 70 per cent (of gross domestic product) depended on Thai exports and the remaining 30 per cent

on domestic consumption. Given the external uncertainties, export revenue has declined and the next task is to increase domestic spending," she said.

Emphasis continues on exports, particularly from the integration of Asean, plus new markets for exports and free-trade negotiations with other countries. There could be political risks that affect the economy, but the government would try to keep the political environment peaceful, she said. That would need cooperation, discussion and participation from all to make decisions together.

In response to concerns on policy implementation that may affect the monetary and fiscal stance, Yingluck said the government would take proper action for policy implementation and be disciplined.

Public debt would be kept within a ceiling via efficient budget control. Small- and medium-sized enterprises' capability would be boosted while competitiveness would be raised.

For the rice-pledging scheme, Yingluck said the government would continue the scheme, as it had solved farmers' problems. With greater purchasing power, domestic consumption had increased.

Yingluck said the Ministry of Commerce has been assigned to receive comments and monitor the scheme.

"The Ministry of Commerce was assigned to review and inspect all of the scheme. The next thing is to upgrade agricultural products and calculate the rice-growing period to be in line with the seasons.

Next year, the government would continue other policies and follow up on existing ones across the country. Long-term sustainability was a focus, along with regional infrastructure links, water management, developing people and increasing farmers' output.

The government would also extend its development programmes to help communities earn more income. OTOP development was included.

Yingluck urged all Thais to end all conflicts in order to move forward but admitted that she heeds her brother Thaksin's opinion because, as a Thai, he had good wishes for the country.

Reflecting on her work over the past year, the PM admitted there were many hiccups when she started as the country was hit by a massive flood and the government spent six months tackling flood-related problems. "I am not perfect but I give my heart 100 per cent to serve the people. I need time to prove my leadership because I am new and many people do not know me."

I will improve: PM

The PM said she saw her first year in the top job as a time to adjust. "I will heed advice and criticism to improve myself and the government's policies. As for criticism levelled against my personal issues, I am not disheartened as I realise that it is normal for politics."

Asked if she could overlook Thaksin, Yingluck said: "He is one Thai who has good wishes for the country and the government should listen to every voice of the people. [But] If I work only for one person and not for the whole country, people will not vote me back to office,'' she said.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yingluck enters 2013 a survivor - The Nation

Yingluck enters 2013 a survivor

Somroutai Sapsomboon,
Kittipong Thavevong,
Samudcha Hoonsara
The Nation January 1, 2013 1:00 am


Thanks to powerful supporters, the PM has made it despite the brickbats

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has survived more than 15 months in office despite repeated attacks from critics and opposition politicians on her alleged ignorance, lack of political experience, and tendency to stay adrift of key issues.

For many observers she has a good chance of completing her four-year term, thanks to support from many experienced and influential politicians behind her.

A political novice, Yingluck contested her first election and won a seat in parliament in the July 3, 2011 ballot. Only 49 days earlier, she became the Pheu Thai Party's prime-ministerial candidate although she was not - and has never been - the party leader.

In her brother's shoes

Her most outstanding quality was being the youngest sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is considered the patriarch of Pheu Thai - his third political party after two previous ones were dissolved on court orders for electoral fraud.

Thaksin has been in self-exile overseas to avoid imprisonment at home over a corruption case.

Many politicians from the ruling-coalition parties, as well as senior bureaucrats, reportedly visited Thaksin for his backing before Cabinet reshuffles and changes in top bureaucratic positions.

Unlike her predecessors, including her ex-PM brother, who often had to tackle key political issues by themselves, Yingluck seems to have tried to distance herself from contentious issues since assuming office in August 2011. Indeed, critics say the prime minister has sought to be invisible politically.

She seldom attended House of Representatives meetings in which opposition MPs queried the prime minister or Cabinet members. Yingluck often assigned relevant ministers to respond to the queries on her behalf. Her argument was that they had been assigned to particular responsibilities.

Even at the censure debate against her and three other Cabinet members in late November, the PM was absent for most of the session and often responded to opposition MPs' allegations from prepared notes.

She has also kept a distance from hot issues like constitutional amendment and the so-called reconciliation bill, which have been described by the opposition Democrat Party as attempts to help Thaksin out of his legal problems. She always insists those are matters for Parliament although her government and coalition parties support them.

Given her scant political savvy, Yingluck needs much support and assistance - mostly behind the scenes - from experienced politicians and advisers in order to survive. These include her trusted aides Suranand Vejjajiva and Kittiratt Na-Ranong, as well as her businessman friend Srettha Thavisin.

Suranand, the PM's secretary-general, has won Yingluck's trust and helps her on many key issues. He is known to prepare her statements and often updates her on current affairs.

Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt, who is finance minister, has known Yingluck since they both were in the private sector. Yingluck was managing director of SC Asset, the Shinawatra family's property firm. Kittiratt was managing director of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and later - at her invitation - became president of Shinawatra University, which was founded by Thaksin. Kittiratt was a director of the Shinawatras' Thaicom Foundation, in which Yingluck served as secretary.

He has also served as a bridge between the Pheu Thai-led government and Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda.

'Brains' behind the operation

Yingluck also has a bigger group of people acting as her "brains" who work directly for her big brother. They include Pansak Vinyaratn, Prommin Lertsuridej, Phumtham Wechayachai, Pongsak Raktapongpisarn, and lawyer Noppadon Pattama.

Pansak is chief adviser to the Yingluck government. Prommin is a key man in Thaksin's think-tank, providing the prime minister with advice on economic policies. Phumtham serves as a key adviser to Yingluck and also acts as the link among the PM, her government, the ruling party, and people's groups, including the red shirts.

Yingluck's elder sister Yaowapa Wongsawat, who leads the ruling party's largest faction, also provides support, although she is believed to exert influence over the PM.

Unlike her immediate predecessor, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, Yingluck has not faced open shows of hatred by her political opponents. While serving as prime minister, Abhisit was harassed often by small groups of red-shirt protesters in public.

Abhisit's government was severely interrupted by the red shirts' street protests in 2009 and the unrest and riots in 2010, which paralysed Bangkok for more than two months and led to more than 90 deaths under a government crackdown to end the stand-off.

On the contrary, the largest anti-government rally Yingluck has faced so far was a protest in November by the Pitak Siam group, which lasted less than one day. The protest was easily subdued, thanks to an efficient and swift crowd-control operation by the police - something the Democrat-led government was unable to achieve while it was in power (the force at that time was accused of being led by 'red' pro-Thaksin officers).

Yingluck has often been derided by her opponents as just the puppet of her brother, who is said to pull the strings behind the ruling party and coalition government. She denies the charge and appears to have tried to prove she is in control, although many people remain unconvinced.

She will need to try harder and be more hands-on in government affairs to silence the critics and reassure the dubious public.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:03 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Range of moves during new year could trigger turmoil, opposition warns - The Nation

Range of moves during new year could trigger turmoil, opposition warns

The Nation January 1, 2013 1:00 am

Thai politics in the new year will be marred by intensifying conflicts caused by both political division and economic problems, political veterans have forecast.


Former Democrat leader Banyat Bantadtan, now a senior party MP, believes the country's gloomy political outlook is a result of four factors that cropped up last year.

The first was the government's adoption of an authoritarian appro-ach in its administration against political opponents - such as the move to press murder charges against Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and senior MP Suthep Thaugsuban.

"Legal experts all said that these charges are far-fetched. Another incident was the violent crackdown on protesters who were led by General Boonlert Kaewprasit. History shows that wherever there is oppression, there will be more struggle for justice," he said.

The second factor was the rising cost of living and plummeting prices of agricultural produce that have driven street protests by farmers. "If the government ignores the problem, we will witness more rallies this year," he warned.

The third factor was the push to amend the entire Constitution by using a public referendum to legalise the move and claiming the current charter was derived from a dictatorship. This could be another root of political conflict that may turn violent because the public believes the government has a hidden agenda, Banyat said.

The more arrogant and demanding red-shirt movement, he said, was another key factor that would shape political landscape.

If these four factors continue this year, he believes there will be more anti-government rallies.

"The charter amendment and the authoritarianism will be a more powerful catalyst than the other two factors that could bring about political chaos," Banyat said.

Asked if he thought Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could handle the situation and rein in the red shirts, Banyat said her brother would. "The government has been given the nickname 'First Brother's Government', so 'the brother' will have to rein them in."

As for how "the first brother" would orchestrate political moves this year, Banyat said what the PM's brother Thaksin Shinawatra had done indicated a man of multiple personalities.

"He wants to go on the offensive and fulfil his personal desire, but deep down, he knows if he does that, he will rock the government's stability. So he also tries not to rock the boat so the government holds on to power as long as possible," Banyat said.

Chief opposition whip Jurin Laksanawisit, another senior Democrat, said the government would be a key factor on whether the country suffered political turmoil or not. He listed factors that would cause a crisis of public faith:

_ the government breaking the law or allowing corruption;

_ the PM showing a lack of leadership;

_ the PM avoiding responsibility and failing to keep her promise of not taking revenge;

_ the PM allowing interference by power from outside the country;

_ the PM managing national affairs for her own group of supporters.

"If the government creates conditions that lead to political conflict, such as amending the charter to whitewash culprits, [or] returns the confiscated money and political rights to a certain group, the country will likely experience political turmoil," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana said it was likely that amending the charter would take longer than one year. He said that to complete a public referendum alone could take a whole year. The ruling Pheu Thai Party will discuss the matter next Sunday and Monday to gather ideas from all sides.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:54 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
the country's gloomy political outlook
It certainly is if you're a democrat- no coups on demand any more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
the violent crackdown on protesters who were led by General Boonlert Kaewprasit.
Yes, 0 dead, only tear gas used. Of course, back in the enlightened days live bullets were used and 100 or so died.
It does seem safer in Thailand to protest in favor of a coup than against one.
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Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
amend the entire Constitution by using a public referendum
Amending a military constitution foisted on the country after a coup by involving the public in the process. Tyrants.

It doesn't seem PT has much to worry about in the electoral stakes.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Corse ya not a puppet darlin - got the job after years of battling on the political stage.

A vocation in life.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:05 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
Thanks to powerful supporters, the PM has made it despite the brickbats
I suppose you could say that Thailands second only absolute electoral majority is a powerful gesture of support.
But this takes the cake-
Quote:
Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
Yingluck seems to have tried to distance herself from contentious issues
Quote:
Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
She has also kept a distance from hot issues like constitutional amendment and the so-called reconciliation bill
and then-
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Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
Given her scant political savvy,


And a happy new year to the Notion.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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They remind me of Bush and Cheney; Bush had the title, Cheney was the real decision maker and the only one capable of making them.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
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They remind me of Bush and Cheney
I am sure she has a good looking bush too if that makes you feel better

Cheney and Thaksin were both ugly fuckers though, it's better for them to stay behind the scene
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:05 AM   #18 (permalink)
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It's worked out well for Toxin as he can control political process without having to be held to account by the checks and balances (which are minimal at best in Thailand)
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Dems decry hidden agenda | Bangkok Post: news

Dems decry hidden agenda

Abhisit wants stress on unity, not Thaksin The government should move beyond its hidden agenda to whitewash ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and focus instead on bringing about national reconciliation, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says.

The Democrat Party leader said yesterday he believed most people in the country expect to see the Pheu Thai Party-led government get serious on resolving the key problems facing the nation.

"The best New Year gift the government could give the public is to defuse the conflicts surrounding the Thaksin issues, including its attempts to rewrite the charter and pass the unity bill to help him," Mr Abhisit said in a New Year address.

His party was satisfied with the role it had played in opposition over the past year by divulging information that prevented the government's attempts to pass laws which could have caused damage to the country, he said.

Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal said he was aware some people thought Thaksin wanted to return home from living in exile abroad, and that the government was doing all it could to help him.

However, Mr Pongsak denied this was the case.

"This is only the belief of some groups of people who are unable to move beyond Thaksin," he said.

He said he believes Thaksin is now happy to live away from his home country after a period of adjustment.

If Thaksin returned he would overshadow his sister Yingluck, and the ousted leader would not want to see this happen, Mr Pongsak said.

The minister said all sides should follow the recommendation of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, who on Dec 27 called for bickering parties to take one step back from confrontation to avoid exacerbating the conflict.

Gen Prem said he prefers to regard the social divisions in society as mere "differences of opinion" which can be overcome if people listen to each other.

Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, Samart Kaewmeechai, a former member of the government's panel to study the possibility of amending Section 291 of the constitution, said the government will have to be careful as it makes its decision on changing the charter.

Three options are open to the government, he said.

One option is to go ahead with the vote on the third and final reading of the constitutional amendment bill that is stalled before parliament.

The alternatives are to amend the charter section by section instead of rewriting it entirely, or to call a referendum asking the public to decide if they want the government to move ahead with the charter rewrite bid.

Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul said his party has resolved to support the government if it goes ahead with the third and final reading of the amendment bill. It will reserve judgement on the referendum until it has seen the wording.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:15 AM   #20 (permalink)
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http://www.google.co.th/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&v ed=0CDwQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressdisplay.com %2Fpressdisplay%2Fviewer.aspx%3Fissue%3D1003201301 2500000000001001%26page%3D2%26article%3D094a2f64-4003-42ea-86c0-68bf11a11e6d%26key%3DYYYY8OxoIqyj5BTxH4wuZQ%3D%3D% 26feed%3Drss&ei=jr0CUZeFDpDQrQfhhoBY&usg=AFQjCNFGF t3i5_XdMKkdD7TGjNZ5ptMLNA&sig2=bnRAavwYSweFYKeAStN eKA&bvm=bv.41524429,d.bmk
  • 25 Jan 2013
  • International Herald Tribune Asia
  • BY THOMAS FULLER
Out of his country, but not out of power

Exiled former premier helps run Thailand using Skype and social media


Millions of people across the globe have cut the tethers to their offices and enjoy working from wherever they want. But the political party governing Thailand has taken the idea of telecommuting into an altogether different realm.


DAMIR SAGOLJ/ REUTERS
Supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra talking with him by cellphone in Suan Mon, Thailand. Mr. Thaksin’s sister is the official prime minister, but his party says he makes the big decisions.

For the past year and a half, by the party’s own admission, the most important political decisions in this country of 65 million people have been made from abroad, by a former prime minister who has not set foot in the country since 2008.

Thaksin Shinawatra circles the globe in his private jet, chatting with ministers over his dozen cellphones, texting over various social media platforms and reading documents e-mailed to him from bureaucrats, party officials say.

It might be described as rule by Skype. Or governance by instant messenger.

Mr. Thaksin was removed from power in a military coup six and a half years ago and remains in exile because of a conviction for abuse of power, a highly politicized case initiated by the coup makers. But that has not stopped him from helping run Thailand — by remote control.

Officially, his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is prime minister (he nominated her for the job in 2011). But from his homes in Dubai and London, from the gold mines he owns in Africa and during regular visits to nearby Asian countries, Mr. Thaksin, 63, has harnessed the Internet and mobile technology to create one of the most unusual and innovative ways of governing a country.

‘‘We can contact him at all hours,’’ said Charupong Ruangsuwan, the interior minister and secretary general of Mr. Thaksin’s Pheu Thai Party. ‘‘ The world has changed. It’s a boundless world. It’s not like a hundred years ago when you had to use a telegraph.’’

To illustrate the point during an interview, Mr. Charupong took out his iPhone and scrolled through the list of Mr. Thaksin’s phone numbers (Mr. Thaksin gives different numbers to different people, often depending on seniority).

‘‘If we’ve got any problem, we give him a call,’’ Mr. Charupong said.

The day-to-day governance of the country is carried out by Ms. Yingluck, who is genial, photogenic and 18 years younger than Mr. Thaksin. She cuts the ribbons and makes the speeches.

Ms. Yingluck has on occasion sought to play down her brother’s role. Soon after taking office, when Mr. Thaksin joined the weekly cabinet meeting via Skype, reporters asked who was really the head of the government. Ms. Yingluck insisted that she was in charge and said that Mr. Thaksin had joined the discussion to offer ‘‘moral support.’’

But if there is one thing that allies and enemies of Mr. Thaksin agree on, it is that he is the one making the big decisions.

‘‘He’s the one who formulates the Pheu Thai policies,’’ said Noppadon Pattama, a senior party official who also serves as Mr. Thaksin’s personal lawyer. ‘‘Almost all the policies put forward during the last election came from him.’’

Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the ‘‘yellow shirt’’ movement that has taken to the streets many times to demonstrate against Mr. Thaksin, said that ‘‘ he’s running the whole show.’’

‘‘If you want a huge project in Thailand worth billions of baht, you have to talk to Thaksin,’’ Mr. Sondhi said in an interview.

Mr. Thaksin uses various social media applications, including Whatsapp, Skype and Line, to keep in touch with the leaders of the party.

Many of the Skype sessions are reported in the Thai news media. This month, Mr. Thaksin had a video chat to discuss coming election for governor in Bangkok. The one-hour video chat made news because party officials reported that Mr. Thaksin had told his colleagues that it did not matter whom they nominated because even a utility pole would defeat the opposition. (The race actually appears much tighter than that.)

Politics in Thailand can be difficult to explain to outsiders because it sometimes sounds too implausible to be true. The general who led the coup that deposed Mr. Thaksin in 2006 is now a member of Parliament and head of the reconciliation committee. The country’s former ‘‘sauna king,’’ who made a fortune by operating illegal massage parlors — customers got more than just a back rub — is now an anti-corruption crusader who regularly exposes illegal gambling dens. The Supreme Court is in the process of demolishing its own building, which is a listed landmark.

Mr. Thaksin has his own quirks. In addition to Thai nationality, he has passports from Montenegro and Nicaragua, which he used in the years immediately after the 2006 coup when a militarybacked government revoked his Thai diplomatic passport.

Fittingly, Mr. Thaksin made a fortune in telecommunications before he entered politics. He used part of the billions of dollars from his mobile phone and satellite companies to start a new political party and in 2001 became a cando prime minister who garnered a huge following in the provinces and among the less affluent. But he alienated the Thai elite through his populist policies, domineering personality and penchant for mixing the affairs of state with the expansion of his business empire.

The paradox for Thailand today is that despite the odd governing arrangement, the past 18 months have been a time of rare stability, without any of the political violence that bloodied the streets of Bangkok in the recent past.

‘‘ There are two ways you can look at this — you can make it into a farce, a ridiculous situation and the butt of a lot of jokes: The brother is pressing the buttons, and the sister is a puppet,’’ said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University and one of the country’s leading political thinkers. ‘‘But I’m beginning to take a slightly different view. This may be the best way to run Thailand.’’

Thailand is bucking the global slump: The stock market is surging, tourists are pouring into the country in unprecedented numbers (more than 22 million visitors last year alone), and unemployment is virtually nonexistent.

Many Thais believe that it might be better both for Mr. Thaksin and the country if he stayed abroad.

With Mr. Thaksin away, passions have cooled and ‘‘a kind of uneasy accommodation has taken hold,’’ Mr. Thitinan said.

Mr. Charupong, the interior minister, says Mr. Thaksin’s distance gives him useful perspective.

‘‘It’s like a football team,’’ he said. ‘‘ The cabinet and I are like 11 players on the field. There must be a coach that watches how we are playing.’’

He elaborated: ‘‘It’s like we have a prime minister in the country and another prime minister overseas. And we work together. This is our strength.’’

For some decisions, Mr. Thaksin insists on meetings in person. He regularly summons politicians to meetings at his Dubai home and at hotels in Hong Kong, which he visits frequently. (He declined a request for a telephone or Skype interview for this article but asked the reporter instead to meet him in London.)

It is a given in Thai politics today that anyone who wants an important job in government must fly to see Mr. Thaksin. The manifests of departing flights have become a new gauge of Thai political dynamics because those who leave the country to meet with Mr. Thaksin often end up with high-profile jobs. This was the case with Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, a senior police officer, who traveled to Hong Kong last June to meet Mr. Thaksin and was promoted to chief of the Metropolitan Police soon after.



While Mr. Thaksin’s role in making appointments and setting policy is unusual by the standards of other democracies, voters knew what they were getting. The party’s widely publicized slogan during the 2011 election campaign was ‘‘ Thaksin thinks; Pheu Thai does.’’

Last edited by StrontiumDog : 26-01-2013 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 26-01-2013, 12:22 AM   #21 (permalink)
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^ Not available on the Herald Tribune website yet.

For the print version, see 2bangkok

NYT article on how Thaksin rules the country with Skype and instant messenger | 2Bangkok.com
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Old 26-01-2013, 07:23 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Chink on chink crime, that's all it ever is.
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Old 26-01-2013, 07:39 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
Thailand is bucking the global slump: The stock market is surging, tourists are pouring into the country in unprecedented numbers (more than 22 million visitors last year alone), and unemployment is virtually nonexistent.
How strange- I just read a whining article from the paste that said over half of Thai small businesses were going broke.
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It is a given in Thai politics today that anyone who wants an important job in government must fly to see Mr. Thaksin
Rubbish.
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Old 26-01-2013, 07:49 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
Thailand is bucking the global slump: The stock market is surging, tourists are pouring into the country in unprecedented numbers (more than 22 million visitors last year alone), and unemployment is virtually nonexistent.
How strange- I just read a whining article from the paste that said over half of Thai small businesses were going broke.
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Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
It is a given in Thai politics today that anyone who wants an important job in government must fly to see Mr. Thaksin
Rubbish.
Yeah I agree,no need to fly in the internet age, they can Grovel and crawl up Thaksin's arse via Skype !
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Old 26-01-2013, 09:07 AM   #25 (permalink)
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PT, the Dem's, BJT, Thai politics in general, is factional. There are even factions within the Thaksin clan(s). Attributing everything to the overriding invisible hand of one man is quite naive, more reflecting the blatant editorial bias of the bangkok english media than any thinking persons position.
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