Laying siege to the City of Angels
The appointment of Sakoltee Phattiyakul as deputy governor of Bangkok by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha through the use of Section 44 has been seen as a move by the regime to take control of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and pave a path towards securing votes in the capital for the election in the near future.
Mr Sakoltee is no newcomer to our politics. He is the son of Gen Vinai Phattiyakul, ex-secretary general of the National Security Council, who is well connected and highly regarded in the intelligence community. Gen Vinai is considered part of the technocratic old guard which initially supported Thaksin Shinawatra, but later became distrustful of Thaksin's ambitions and helped to bring about his downfall.
Upon joining the Democrat Party, Mr Sakoltee was elected a member of parliament for Bangkok in 2007 but failed in the election of 2011. In 2013, he joined the then-People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) created by Suthep Thaugsuban as an instrument of mass protest against the Pheu Thai-led government. The chaos created by the PDRC's method of protest, including the infamous "Shutdown Bangkok" campaign, provided the excuse for the military to stage its coup of 2014.
Former secretary-general to the prime minister
Suranand Vejjajiva was secretary-general to the prime minister during the Yingluck Shinawatra government and is now a political analyst.
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