A video report from Al Jazeera English notes that “Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the Thai military man who overthrew former Prime minister Thaksin Shinawat, is one of the candidates running in the country’s general election on Sunday.”
As ever, thoughtful analysis from political expert Thitinan Pongsudhirak, who says in Saturday’s Bangkok Post that post-election, a “flexible roadmap acceptable to the principal protagonists is imperative.”
The BBC on Sunday posted a text story about the upcoming election. Of particular interest are the embedded video interviews with Abhisit and Thaksin. Worth a watch.
As I noted following Abhisit’s address to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club here in Bangkok in March, he is a skillful politician.
Some analysts say he cannot connect with common people. But on “Hard Talk,” in the featured video, he was characteristically poised and on-message, and this surely must resound with an international audience. Just a thought.
A recent TIME story on the upcoming elections begins with a memorable lede:
Sonthi Boonyaratglin must have armor-plated gonads. How else to explain it? Five years ago, as an army general, he led a military coup that overthrew Thailand’s then Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Now retired and running in the country’s July 3 parliamentary election, he presents the coup as a brave and selfless act. “I’m glad we did it,” says Sonthi, who commands his Matubhum Party from a spartan Bangkok office. “If we hadn’t, Thailand might no longer be a democracy.”
Thailand’s prime minister on Sunday defended his country’s decision to quit the U.N.’s World Heritage Convention, saying its committee’s consideration of a Cambodian plan to manage a protected temple on Thailand’s border would increase tensions.
The UNESCO Web site has this statement yesterday from the Director General, who says:
Contrary to widely circulated media reports, the World Heritage Committee did not discuss the Management Plan of the Temple of Preah Vihear nor did it request for any reports to be submitted on its state of conservation. Moreover, it needs to be clarified that UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre never pushed for a discussion of the Management Plan by the Committee.
The World Heritage Committee decision was adopted unanimously after Thailand staged a walkout. The request of Thailand to adjourn the debate was not supported by any other member of the World Heritage Committee.
Thailand’s withdrawal from the World Heritage Convention and World Heritage Committee (WHC) is in accordance with his Cabinet’s resolution, because ambiguity in the Cambodian draft resolution is unacceptable, said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday.
Before going to the northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani for the Democrat Party’s election campaign, Mr Abhisit said that he spoke many times on Saturday regarding this issue with the head of Thai delegates to the WHC meeting in Paris, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti, and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.
The draft resolution proposed by Cambodia has ambiguous words which are unacceptable, therefore Thailand decided to pull out of the WHC, he said.
Saturday’s Wall Street Journalprofiles Thailand’s Newin Chidchob, the Bhumjai Thai party, and his Buriram PEA soccer team:
Thai politician Newin Chidchob, banned from contesting the country’s July 3 election because of a past conviction for vote-buying, has found a field in which he might be more powerful: soccer.
Long known as an important provincial power broker here, the 52-year-old Mr. Newin is emerging as a potential kingmaker in Thailand’s coming election, largely through the success of his Buriram PEA soccer team, which is helping him build support for his new Bhumjai Thai, or Thai Pride, Party.
Smaller parties like Thai Pride frequently play a big role in Thai politics—especially so this year…
An Economist story that ran yesterday says things are looking good for Puea Thai, but that it’s still unclear who will actually form the next government:
With little more than a week to go before polling day on July 3rd, it is clear that the opposition Pheu Thai (PT) party will win more seats than any other in Thailand’s 500-strong parliament. This will mark an extraordinary comeback for the unofficial leader of PT, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister ousted in a military coup in 2006 and now living in exile in Dubai as a fugitive from Thai justice. Some even predict that PT may win an outright majority, though a hung parliament looks more likely. But in Thai politics merely winning an election is not enough; whether PT gets to form a government is another matter entirely.