PM pushes authoritarian values to kids

PM pushes authoritarian values to kids

Pheu Thai slams 'undemocratic' stance

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha cultivated authoritarian values for children while speaking about "Thai-style democracy" during a speech marking National Children's Day, Pheu Thai Party key figure Chaturon Chaisang says.

During a speech given to youngsters gathered at Government House yesterday, Gen Prayut, who is also the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), emphasised that Thailand will return to democracy, but it will be Thai-style democracy.

"I ask Thai children to do their duties to the best to be the pride of their family. The priorities are nation, religion and the monarchy -- keep Thainess forever," he said.

"Moreover, we have to have 'Thai-ism democracy', which is Thai-style democracy. We have to develop everything at the same time as laying the foundation for our democracy in the future to ensure security and good administration. Our country cannot afford more conflicts."

"Thailand will certainly have democracy, but Thai-ism democracy, without violating others' rules. As we all are Thais, I can just ask all of us to help figure out how to do it."

Mr Chaturon said coup leader Gen Prayut "has been trying to cultivate undemocratic values over the past three to four years".

"Remarks of Thai-style democracy or 'Thai-ism democracy' said by the authoritarian leader means cultivation of thoughts and values of authoritarianism," he said.

"I'm worried about the children growing up under the authoritarian regime as they will lack understanding of democracy and will be problems in the future."

However, he said the NCPO would have to do a lot more to frame the conditions for an "outsider prime minister" including to destroy old political parties and set up new party.

Unless the attempt to have an outsider prime minister is successful, the election will be postponed again and again, he said.

Former senator Paiboon Nititawan -- a vocal and staunch supporter of Gen Prayut -- who announced that he plans to register a political party in March, yesterday said Thailand is "different from Western countries".

It already had many premiers who did not come from political parties as they were necessary in some periods, such as when the country was facing severe political divisiveness, he said.

"Certainly, I support a PM who does not come from a political party in the transition period after the next general election. Otherwise, we will have to face the same problems as in the past," he said, adding that the provision in the constitution that allows senators to select a prime minister was aimed at creating political balance.

While new political parties will emerge, he said it is necessary that an outsider prime minister comes before the country returns to a normal state and then the PM can come from a political party, he said.

Chulalongkorn University political scientist Chaiyan Chaiyaporn said while each country can take US, British or French democracy as a model, each country's democracy is different.

"Thai-style democracy is not a problem," Mr Chaiyan said. "The question is whether Thai-style democracy means there is no democracy left."

He said he did not know exactly what Gen Prayut meant by the term, and it is difficult to predict how Thai-style democracy will look like especially when Section 44 remains powerful in altering the constitution.

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