05BANGKOK1775 A KINDER AND GENTLER THAKSIN?
“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
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. .
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
— 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
— 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
— 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
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.