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05BANGKOK1775 A KINDER AND GENTLER THAKSIN?

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“28489”,”3/10/2005 11:14″,”05BANGKOK1775″,”Embassy Bangkok”,

 

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

“,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 001775

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, TH, TRT – Thai Rak Thai, Southern Thailand, HUMAN RIGHTS

SUBJECT: THAILAND: A KINDER AND GENTLER THAKSIN?

 

1. (SBU) Summary: In his second term inaugural speech on

March 9, Prime Minister Thaksin promised to be open to

dissent, support non-governmental organizations and establish

a better rapport with the press. Thaksin also told the Thai

nation that he will dedicate himself to building a better

society and stronger economy. Thaksin made his speech after

receiving the King\’s formal endorsement for his next

four-year term. It is not clear how durable the Prime

Minister\’s uncharacteristic gesture to disaffected parties

such as the media, the NGO community and public advocacy

groups will prove to be, but he has used a prominent moment

in his political career and Thai political history to

publicly reach out and offer to listen to critical voices. .

End Summary.

 

2. (U) In his second term inaugural speech on March 9,

Prime Minister Thaksin surprised many observers here by

stating emphatically that he will keep an open mind to

dissent, work with non-governmental organizations and build

bridges to the press. Clearly basking in a celebratory

moment surrounded by his wife, three children, and members of

his cabinet adorned in official rgalia, the Prime Minister

assured his audience that he would not abuse his powerful

majority in Parliament. Among other highlights in the

speech, Thaksin:

 

— described the ongoing violence in the southern border

provinces as Thailand\’s number one domestic issue, and

promised his best efforts to solve the crisis, protect

innocent citizens, enforce laws in compliance with the

Constitution, and to promote educational and economic

development for the local populace.

 

— called his promise to serve the country a \”social

contract\” and affirmed that he would respect NGOs with no

\”hidden agendas\” and encourage their participation in the

country\’s development.

 

— promised to promote rights and liberty, strengthen local

administrative organizations, and enhance public

participation at every level.

 

— pledged to interact often with the Thai public and listen

to their problems through public hearings and issue-specific

referendums.

 

— promised to initiate primary elections in his Thai Rak

Thai (TRT) party to allow the selection of candidates for the

next general election by the party membership.

 

— declared that he would promote human rights and invited

Thai civil society groups to discuss with him ways to upgrade

human rights in the country.

 

— announced plans to set up a center to track down people

who have gone missing

and to promote \”social justice.\”

 

— stressed that he would administer the country on the

basis of \”good governance\” and enhance transparency and

eliminate corruption.

 

3. (SBU) Comment: Most of Thaksin\’s speeches trumpet his

administration\’s economic accomplishments. This inaugural

speech, with its conciliatory tones and attention to issues

of public participation in the policy process, is highly

unusual. It appears to have been crafted by Thaksin\’s

speechwriters to signal that the Prime Minister wants to

build bridges to groups he has alienated, such as NGOs, rural

interest groups, environmentalists and the press. Skepticism

about his sincerity is widespread. One prominent critic told

us that Thaksin was only paying lip service to his critics

and that the \”real Thaksin\” is still the combative figure

exercising an almost gleeful penchant for publicly slanging

his adversaries. However, while the durability of the Prime

Minister\’s uncharacteristic gestures in this speech remain in

doubt for some, he has used a prominent moment in his

political career and Thai political history to publicly reach

out and offer to listen to critical voices. End Summary.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 6, 2011 at 7:49 am

Posted in Thaksin, Unclassified

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