Prem stays out of politics, aide says

Prem stays out of politics, aide says

Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda is not involved in the current political standoff in any way, according to his close military aide Lt Gen Phitsanu Phutthawong.

Gen Prem had flown to his hometown in Songkhla on Thursday for a rest, but returned to Bangkok on Friday afternoon over fears about the worsening political conflict.

Lt Gen Phitsanu said it was perfectly normal for Gen Prem to be worried about the political impasse.

The statesman has been closely monitoring the situation since Thursday night following the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s ruling against former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and the announcement of a mass rally against the caretaker government yesterday.

The NACC has asked the Senate to retroactively impeach Ms Yingluck over the way she handled corruption and losses in the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

She was stripped of her premiership on Wednesday by the Constitutional Court, following her unlawful order to remove Thawil Pliensri from the post of National Security Council secretary-general in 2011.

Protesters with the People’s Democratic Reform Committee are now calling on all caretaker ministers to step down. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) will meanwhile hold a mass rally in support of the government on Utthayan Road in suburban Bangkok on Saturday.

Gen Prem is yet to make any comment on the situation, Lt Gen Phitsanu said, and has merely been following the news, despite attempts to link him with the unrest.

The UDD, which accuses Gen Prem of engineering the 2006 coup against the Thaksin Shinawatra government, has suggested he was involved with the NACC and charter court rulings against Ms Yingluck.

“He’s never had such involvement,” Lt Gen Phitsanu said. “But he’s always implicated in those things in order to spark hate.”

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