Arglit Boonyai asks the prime minister about the disappointing polls, the Ratchaprasong rally and whether he will resign if his party loses badly.
Abhisit Vejjajiva: English language interview
Arglit Boonyai: The recent polls have been coming out with regards to the upcoming election. You’re not doing as well as perhaps you may have hoped. What is your reaction to these poll results.
PM Abhisit: That we’ll do a lot better on July the 3rd. I’m confident that people will over the last couple of weeks look at the alternatives presented to them and will decide to move Thailand forward. With a government that will work with the people’s policies, addressing their real concerns about high prices, about drugs and about having a government that will uphold the rule of law.
You’re not worried at all about how the polls ….
We have to work hard. We have to work hard. We know we are slightly behind. For me, it’s a good position to be with two weeks left. It makes us work a lot harder and it won’t make us complacent and, at the same time, I think it will mobilise our supporters.
You recently changed some of your strategies towards this election. You came out on Facebook and you made some comments as to past events, the burning of Bangkok, some allegations as to how you came into power. What prompted you to take this new approach?
Well, it wasn’t really – it’s not an integral part of the campaign, not the central part of the campaign at least, but it has been necessary because I’ve avoided talking about these issues before dissolution but since dissolution I think there’s been a systematic attempt to discredit me on these issues and I felt it was time for me to set the record straight and the best thing to do that without being confrontational is to write it all down and let people read for themselves.
Talk about being confrontational, you recently announced you were going to hold an electioneering event at Ratchaprasong. Some people may consider this to be somewhat confrontational …
No, it is a way of signaling that we want this to return all space to all Thai people. I mean, after all, for some reason Ratchaprasong has been monopolised by only one group. We’re there to say that Ratchaprasong, like the whole of the country, belongs to all Thais, to all colours.
Right, but you have a lot of people who are following you around, maybe heckling you…
They’re the ones that are confrontational.
Right, do they worry you at all?
It’s not something that I think anyone should encourage and I’ve urged Khun Yingluck and Phak Phue Thai to come out and denounce these kind of moves and I’ve been disappointed that that’s not been forthcoming.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the red shirt villages. They’ve now become international news. Should you continue in power, what will you do about this problem?
Well, we will try as best we can to say to them that it is time to stop dividing the country. If they have grievances, we will address them. You know, they are entitled to whatever rights that other Thai people are entitled to. But they don’t have special privileges just because they are more organised, or perhaps that their voices are heard more, that they have to have privileges above other Thais. That’s what our message is now to the electorate.
There’s been a lot of violence directed towards politicians. There’s been some rumours and thought that perhaps the army may step in. Is this an issue that we should be worried about?
There’s no reason for that at all. If you recall, actually, in all election campaigns, you know, these things do happen, regrettably so, and, you know, we hope that the police will get to the bottom of this quickly so that it will deter and stop similar kind of violence spreading.
You’ve been in the news internationally and made some clarifications over something you said about whether you’d resign or not/ What would you do if your expectations are not met in this election, you don’t get the amount of seats you want?
People shouldn’t question what I will do. You know I have shown throughout my career that I will take responsibilities and also that I will make the right decision and appropriate decision. But if I can’t take the party forward, what’s the point of me continuing to lead the party?
By taking responsibility, that means, you will no longer….
That’s right. That’s right, but I cannot say, you know, when people ask me about exact numbers, there’s so many “ifs”. What if we win 160 seats, but we are the biggest party? There’s no reason for me to resign.
recent – happening or starting a short time ago เร็วๆ นี้
poll – an occasion when a lot of people are asked about what they feel about something – การสำรวจความคิดเห็น
upcoming – happening soon; available soon ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา
reaction – the way you behave or respond as a result of something that happens ปฏิกิริยาตอบโต้
confident – being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
couple – two things สองสิ่ง
alternative – another choice ตัวเลือก / ทางเลือก
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
address – to deal with a problem จัดการปัญหา
concern – a worry ความกังวล
uphold – to defend or keep to a principle or law; to show that you support something by what you say or do รับรอง พิทักษ์รักษา ยืนหนัด
complacent – too confident and relaxed because you think you can deal with something easily, even though this may not be true ที่พึงพอใจ, ชะล่า
mobilise – to organise a group of people to do something ระดมกำลัง
strategy– a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ
comment – expressing an opinion แสดงความคิดเห็น
allegation – an accusation; a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved ข้อกล่าวหา
prompt – to cause someone to take action กระตุ้น
approach – a way of doing or dealing with something การจัดการกับปัญหา
integral – necessary and important ซึ่งเป็นส่วนจำเป็น
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
issue – a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
dissolution (of parliament) –formally ending the House of Representatives, usually leading to a general election การยุบสภา
systematic – done according to a system or plan, in a thorough, efficient or determined way ซึ่งเป็นระบบ
set the record straight – to correct any mistakes in what has been reported; to give the true facts
confrontational – tending to deal with people in an aggressive way that is likely to cause arguments, rather than discussing things with them ทำให้เกิดมีการเผชิญหน้ากัน
electioneering – the activity of making speeches and visiting people to try to persuade them to vote for a particular politician or political party กิจกรรมหาเสียงของพรรคการเมือง
signal – to be a sign that something exists or is likely to happen ส่งสัญญาณ
space – an area or a place that is empty or that can be moved about freely ที่ว่าง
monopolise – to prevent other people from using something or being involved in something; to completely control a business activity ผูกขาด
heckle – to interrupt someone or annoy someone with loud unfriendly statements or questions รบกวนคนที่กำสังพูดอยู่ด้วยการตะโกน
encourage – to cause someone to want to do something กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
denounce – to criticise someone or something severely in public ประณาม, ติเตียน
disappointed – unhappy because someone or something was not as good as you hoped or expected, or because something did not happen ผิดหวัง
forthcoming – happening or coming soon ที่กำลังจะมาถึง
grievances – complaints about being treated in an unfair way ความคับข้องใจ
entitled – having the right to have or do something มีสิทธิโดยชอบ
right – a moral or legal claim to have or get something or to behave in a particular สิทธิ
privilege – a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group เอกสิทธิ์
message – an important idea that someone is trying to communicate ประเด็น, เนื้อความ
electorate – all the people in a country or area who are allowed to vote ผู้ที่มีสิทธิเลือกตั้งทั้งหมดในท้องที่หรือเขตหนึ่งๆ
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
rumour – a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true ข่าวลือ
regrettably – that you are sorry about and wish had not happened น่าสลดใจ, น่าเศร้าใจ
get to the bottom of – to find out what really happened, especially something bad; to solve a crime
deter – to make someone decide not to do something ขัดขวาง, ยับยั้ง, ป้องกัน
similar – like somebody/something but not exactly the same คล้ายกัน
spread – to gradually affect or cover a larger area แพร่กระจาย
clarification – explaining something more clearly so that it is easier to understand ทำให้กระจ่าง
resign – to leave a job permanently ลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
expectation – the belief that something will happen สิ่งที่คาดหวังว่าจะเกิดขึ้นในอนาคต
take responsibility – to say or admit you are the cause of something, usually something bad (and, often, to do what needs to be done to correct the situation) แสดงความรับผิดชอบ
appropriate – suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose ที่เหมาะสม
For Arglit's interview with the prime minister's chief rival, Yingluck Shinawatra, click here: http://bit.ly/kSjevt
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