Thanathorn hits back at 'leftist plot' claim
Says army 'the real threat' to country
Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit on Wednesday hit back at army chief Apirat Kongsompong who attacked "left-wing politicians" for trying to change the constitutional monarchy system and divide the people.
Mr Thanathorn said he wanted democracy to return, human rights to be respected and for the impartial enforcement of the law. "These aren't leftist calls -- they are just something normal," he said.
Asked if this was a warning from the army, Mr Thanathorn said, "I don't know, but I will keep moving on."
On the issue of the high institution, Mr Thanathorn said that it is being used as a political tool by the regime to breed hatred and drive a wedge between the people.
"When the people are divided, dictators will use it as a pretext to assume control of the state," he said. "The divisions in our society aren't caused by the FFP -- they are caused by the armed forces trying to cling on to power."
The FFP wants to stress that it has been unwavering in its stance to move toward democracy, Mr Thanathorn added.
"I and party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul are prepared and know that we will be targeted," he said. "But we will move forward firmly. The party has no prisons, no tanks. The party only has itself as a weapon to fight against the military dictatorship."
Mr Thanathorn also said that the military is the actual threat to the country -- not the FFP, himself, or Mr Piyabutr.
On Tuesday, Gen Apirat said that politicians, lecturers and students must obey the rules and should not attempt to reform the country's constitutional monarchy.
"Any effort to change the system and divide the people could culminate in a civil war," he warned.
He made the remark one day after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha sounded the alarm in a statement that "ill-intentioned people" have been spreading distorted information on social media to trigger unrest.
Gen Apirat said those who studied democracy abroad and read other countries' textbooks must consider how they should adapt, instead of trying to change the status quo.
"Don't bring the left-wing ideas you learned abroad and act all pretentious," Gen Apirat said.
"Do we want another civil war like we had in the past?" he said.
"Why don't you follow the rules and fight in parliament?" added Gen Apirat.