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.
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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.
About the author
Writer: Pradit Ruangdit & Manop Thip-Osod