Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva spoke at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand last night. (Details on the event are on the FCCT site here.)
Embedded below and collected here are my Tweets from the evening, in reverse chronological order.
As I’ve noted following Abhisit’s remarks at previous FCCT events, he is a highly adept politician, at least by Western standards: He stays on message, he uses his wit to good effect, he speaks excellent English, and he has a deep knowledge of policy issues.
Overall, my feeling was that the audience of non-journalists — Thais and foreigners alike — were fairly receptive to his remarks.
Abhisit received some cheers for a few of his statements, and though I heard some rumblings of discontent among some in attendance, the environment was not at all hostile.
(Of course, that may have to do with the fact that the non-media audience was self-selecting: His supporters are more likely to turn out to hear him speak, perhaps, than his detractors.)
To summarize a few notable elements of Abhisit’s remarks:
- He argued that his administration focused on economic issues and aimed to restore “some normalcy” to Thai politics.
- He said Yingluck’s government is forsaking economic development and focusing on amnesty for Thaksin, and that such amnesty will only create more divisions in Thai society.
- Regarding exiled former PM Thaksin’s potential return, he said that if Thaksin comes back and serves even a short sentence but is pardoned legally, “we’re fine with that.”
- Abhisit was asked if he felt any personal responsibility for the 2010 violence. He said, before elaborating, “we are all responsible in some way or another.”