Regime 'failed to hasten reconciliation'
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has been urged to work harder to create reconciliation, amid political tensions that will make it harder for the government to administer the country.
"When [the NCPO] seized power, it said it came to solve political conflicts and create reconciliation. It seems to have not done this yet. Please do it," Adul Khieuboribun, chairman of the 1992 May Heroes Relatives Committee, told a seminar at the Thai Journalists Association on Sunday.
"If the military wants to enter politics, it should enter according to the system," urged Mr Adul, a relative of a victim in the public protest against the government of Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon between May 17 and 20, 1992 in Bangkok.
He said the NCPO, which "came as a middleman", should not step into politics itself. He was talking about reports that the military is thinking of setting up a party to run in this year's election, or at least extend its grip on power.
NCPO chief Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Jan 3 declared that he is no longer a soldier and was compelled to be "a politician who used to be a soldier". On Saturday, Gen Prayut said during a speech given to mark National Children's Day at Government House that Thailand needs a Thai-style or "Thai-ism democracy".
Also on Sunday, Suriyasai Katasila, deputy dean of Rangsit University's Social Innovation College and former coordinator for the People's Alliance for Democracy, warned that political rifts that had been hibernating for more than three years will come back as political parties and factional groups move towards the election.
"The political conflicts that have been hiding for over three years might appear both on the ground and underground," he said.
"The political equation today is not without conflicts, and there has been no sight of the NCPO's achievement on reconciliation -- it has failed. The strategy, using power to suppress, is wrong. It might have won people's hearts for a short period but in the long run, political rifts will come back."
Mr Suriyasai said the complicated registration and membership requirements for political parties, as instructed by the organic bill on parties and the NCPO chief's announcement No.53 last year, would cause more problems which might eventually affect the election roadmap.
He said when the people realise the NCPO is not using its power to create reconciliation as it promised to do when it took power, it will be more difficult for the NCPO to administrate the country.