The ammart's counter offensive
Trade Yingluck Shinawatra for Yaowapa Wongsawat, and what do we get? First, let's speculate. Let's connect the dots.
- Published: 21/03/2013 at 10:34 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
A series of events may be coincidental, having little or nothing at all to do with one another. Or they may be designed to accomplish a certain goal.
Depending on how surrounding circumstances unfold, a series of events may take a different turn, or might not need to be pursued further, or simply come to naught on its own.
In a world where chaos and order are locked in an eternal battle, political analysis is always a subjective art of educated guesses.
The Bangkok gubernatorial election ended with a victory for the Democrats. The rice pledging scheme has proven to be a dud. The first-time automobile buyer scheme now faces ridicule as buyers find themselves unable to pay off their car loans.
The two trillion baht loan to revamp the country’s infrastructure will take 50 years to pay off, and if the revamping is in any way similar to the rice pledging or the first car buyer schemes, then we should all scratch our heads and stock up on Mama noodles.
Things are not going well for the Pheu Thai government.
Thaksin Shinawatra spoke out, demanding his party push harder for amnesty, and again we must stress that he insisted it was not for himself but for the good of the people, truly. Meanwhile, pundits speculate that the resignation of Pheu Thai MP Kasem Nimmonrat was designed to make way for someone who can get ‘’the job’’ done.
Not Mr Kasem’s job, but Ms Yingluck’s.
Thaksin’s other sister, Ms Yaowapa, has been selected by the party to run in the April 21 by-election for the vacant seat in Chiang Mai's constituency 3.
This is Chiang Mai, the stronghold of the Thaksin political machine, where he could nominate any electricity pole, even a real one, and the by-election would still be money in the bank. Why was Ms Yaowapa selected?
Perhaps to eventually replace Ms Yingluck? The National Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating ‘’inconsistencies’’ in Ms Yingluck’s assets declaration when she became an MP and prime minister.
Ms Yingluck now has the B30mn asset conceal case.
If we recall the late former prime minister Samak Sundaravej being stripped of his rank because of a cooking show, then we realise that if they really want to get you, and the situation is ripe for getting you, then they will get you.
Gotham City has Batman. Thailand has the Invisible Hand. Be entertained by the former. Be afraid of the latter. Is the situation ripe for going after Ms Yingluck? Well, that’s for the Invisible Hand to answer.
But to speculate, the Pheu Thai government is now at a vulnerable period. This is not simply because its economic policies have not fared well, and the loss in the Bangkok governor election, but also because the push for constitutional amendment and amnesty has, thus far, failed.
In the eye of the ammart, the old elite establishment, perhaps the time is ripe for a counter offensive.
Meanwhile, let us also speculate that Thaksin is getting ever so impatient. While the populist economic policies are not faring well, they are not exactly disastrous or catastrophic to the Thai economy as a whole, yet. That might take a couple more years, so be patient folks.
And while there is little, if any, progress on constitutional amendment and amnesty, other than some complaining and petitioning, the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) are not making a big issue out of it either.
At the same time, the economy is doing, not great, but fine.
This means, things are stable.
Uncomfortably stable, because stability invites complacency and forgetfulness. The man in Dubai wields a lot of power yes, but he is becoming less relevant to the conscience of the people on both sides of the political divide.
His greatest fear may be that one day the people of Thailand wake up and wonder, ‘’Thaksin who?’’
The average member of the UDD loves and is very happy with Ms Yingluck. The anti-Thaksin brigade puts up with her, as long as they can make crude jokes and insults. It’s therapeutic.
On top of which, Ms Yingluck may be the calming influence that Thailand needs. She may be the bridge of reconciliation with men like Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda and army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. Again, the status quo is too stable.
For her big brother, it has been nearly two years, and she simply is not getting the job done. Looking into the near future, it's unlikely that she will get the job done then either. She’s just too nice.
What’s the job? Bringing her brother back home in triumph.
The score is 0-0 in the second half, what do you do? It’s time to bring in the super sub! Ms Yaowapa.
Ms Yingluck and Ms Yaowapa offer quite the contrast. The former has been in the national spotlight for nearly two years now, and we all have our opinion of her based on her character and performance, and judged by our own personal prejudices.
Mrs Yaowapa will run in a by-election in Chiang Mai.
Many would also credit her and Thaksin’s former wife Khunying Pojaman as the real brains behind the man and the political machine. And that these two ladies currently run the Interior Ministry and the Royal Thai Police from behind the scenes.
There are peace-time leaders and there are war-time leaders. The two sisters possess different strengths. While Ms Yingluck is cordial and diplomatic, Ms Yaowapa is someone who has the ability and the gumption to get the job done.
If the series of events unfold to where Ms Yaowapa becomes Thailand’s next prime minister, keen to get the job done, what then would be the consequences for Thailand?
Well, we need not get that far ahead yet. After all, as the introduction to this article forewarned, we are merely exercising educated guesses by interpreting a series of events, connecting the dots in order to understand the curious developments that might prove to be something or nothing at all.
Perhaps Ms Yingluck is finding herself squeezed by the NACC on one side, the ammart counter offensive, and her brother on the other side, the super sub strategy. Perhaps all this is a figment of my imagination, which I have plenty of.
As events unfold however, both sides may realise that the status quo with Ms Yingluck as prime minister is not ideal, but still the best option available at the moment, for the sake of peace in the country - which itself leads to good business for the elite on both sides of the political divide.
Thailand is still walking a tightrope, people. Let us all wait and see what happens in the next general election, instead of trying to force issues.
About the author
- Writer: Voranai Vanijaka
- Position: Political and Social Commentator