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05BANGKOK2257 THAI POLITICAL UPDATE — MARCH 30, 2005

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“29740”,”3/30/2005 9:47″,”05BANGKOK2257″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED”,”05BANGKOK2017″,

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

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 002257

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV. HQ USPACOM FOR FPA (HUSO)

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, TH, Thai Political Updates

SUBJECT: THAI POLITICAL UPDATE — MARCH 30, 2005

 

REF: BANGKOK 2017

 

1. (U) HOUSE SPEAKER\’S PARLIAMENTARY PERFORMANCE HARSHLY

CRITICIZED

 

The opposition Democrat Party (DP) again walked out in

protest of actions by House Speaker Bhokin Bhalakula. The

latest protest occurred on March 25 when Bhokin rejected a

request by Democrat Party Chief Advisor (and former prime

minister) Chuan Leekpai to clarify references made to him by

Deputy Interior Minister Sermsak Pongpanich. This is the

second walkout in less than two weeks (reftel). Bhokin, who

was strongly backed Prime Minister Thaksin and his wife for

the House Speaker\’s position has been subject to ridicule

even by some Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party colleagues, especially

the Mod Dum (Black Ant) faction led by First Deputy House

Speaker Suchart Tanchareon, for his clumsy performance as

Speaker. DP MPs, of course, are scathing in their accusations

that Bhokin is biased and prejudiced in a position that

should be at the least nominally neutral. Critics of a

Thai-language daily even dubbed him \”dictatorial Bho-Shin,\”

sarcastically rhyming his name with that of the PM Thaksin,s

Shin Corporation. More serious commentators have criticized

Bhokin but also chastised the DP for being so quick to walk

and trivializing its role as the lead opposition party.

 

2. (U) BUT THAKSIN DENIES BHOKIN ABOUT TO BE REPLACED

 

Prime Minister Thaksin subsequently defended Bhokin\’s

performance as House Speaker, saying that he was

\”straightforward\” in his approach to the job but also

suggesting that Bhokin could be \”more compromising\” in

conducting House sessions and seek more cooperation from both

Government and Opposition whips in settling any conflict.

Thaksin denied any truth to widespread rumors that House

Speaker Bhokin was about to be replaced, claiming that any

new speaker would face the same challenges from Opposition

members.

 

3. (U) TRT FACTION LEADER SANOH REPORTEDLY SNUBS THAKSIN\’S

GOLF INVITATION

 

Meanwhile, Sanoh Thienthong, leader of the TRT Wang Nam Yen

faction, is apparently still smarting over Prime Minister

Thaksin\’s \”insulting\” offer to appoint him as honorary chief

advisor to the government whip. He has spurned the Prime

Minister\’s offer to join in a conciliatory round of golf.

The invitation from Thaksin came after last week\’s strong

public grumbling by Sanoh and his faction supporters over

what they considered a paucity of positions allocated to

their faction – the last straw being the offer to Sanoh of

the honorary whip advisor\’s post — a position that Sanoh

described as \”a joke.\” Thaksin shrugged off the snub,

telling reporters that he had not invited only Sanoh to play

and besides that, The Prime Minister added, the only purpose

of his game was \”to have fun and relax.\”

 

4. (U) CABINET MAKES NEW APPOINTMENTS

 

On March 22, the Cabinet announced the appointment of a

number of MPs and others to political posts. Some of these

include:

 

(1) Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Dr. Pracha Kunakasem (Party List 2) – appointed as the

Foreign Minister\’s Advisor

Mr. Pitiphong Temcharoen (Bangkok MP) – appointed as the

Foreign Minister,s Secretary

Mr. Phairot Tanbanchong (Phayao MP) – appointed as the Deputy

Foreign Minister\’s Secretary

(2) Dr. Phansak Winyarat – appointed as Chairman of the PM,s

Policy Advisory Board.

 

(3) Mr. Jakrapop Phenkhae (the ex-Government Spokesman)

appointed as Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Surakiat

Sathienthai,s Secretary.

 

(4) Former Justice Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana appointed

as Head Government Whip.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 6, 2011 at 8:04 am

Posted in Unclassified

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