Thailand: NCPO ‘lures’ politicians with plum jobs

  • A military-backed political party is luring politicians into its fold by offering them positions as ministers’ assistants if it is able to form a government, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has revealed.
  • He made the comments on 23 Apr 18 with speculation rife that the regime is forging alliances with small- and medium-sized parties, as a prelude to establishing a military-backed party to support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha returning as prime minister after an election expected in Feb 19.
  • He also said the military-backed party has its sights set on winning at least 25 House seats after the poll.
  • “This action is no different from several regimes we fought against in the past, and this goes against the spirit of the constitution which is intended to keep those who are currently in power from meddling with politics and from becoming stakeholders in the next election,” Mr Abhisit said.
  • The Democrat leader also mentioned the recent cabinet appointment of Palang Chon Party head Sonthaya Khunplome as an adviser to the prime minister, which was widely seen as part of a political deal to pave the way for Gen Prayut’s return.
  • Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd declined to comment on the matter.
  • Political observers note that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the government are shifting into gear as they woo politicians into their fold with the help of Deputy Prime Minister Somkid.
  • Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said that it is still not clear what topics will be discussed at a meeting scheduled tentatively for Jun 18 between the NCPO, political parties and related agencies over poll preparations.
  • Mr Wissanu said that there was no need for political parties to know the agenda in advance. He also said that any parties that fail to attend the planned meeting would “miss the train”.
  • Even if no parties show up, the “Five Rivers” will proceed with the meeting anyway, Mr Wissanu said.
  • The Five Rivers is a term referring to the five core organisations running the country that came into being after the May 2014 coup. They were the NCPO, the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly the Constitution Drafting Committee and the now-dissolved National Reform Council.

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