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06BANGKOK1630 THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE: PROTESTS CONTINUE, THAI MAINSTREAM GROWING WEARY

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“56794”,”3/16/2006 11:36″,”06BANGKOK1630″,

 

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

“06BANGKOK1575″,”VZCZCXRO0820

PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHBK #1630 0751136

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 161136Z MAR 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7226

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY”,”UNCLAS BANGKOK 001630

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE: PROTESTS CONTINUE, THAI

MAINSTREAM GROWING WEARY

 

REF: BANGKOK 01575

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Privy Council President General Prem

Tinsulanonda urged both the PM and the opposition to work

together to end the crisis, a view which reflected the views

of most Bangkokians according to a new ABAC Poll. Three Thai

Ambassadors, including a former Ambassador to the U.S., spoke

out at the anti-Thaksin rally last night, criticizing

Thaksin\’s foreign policy, and policy towards the restive

South. Tens of thousands of protesters are still at

Government House. The pro-Thaksin \”Caravan of the Poor\”

began staging rallies in northern Bangkok but Thaksin\’s

handling of the political crisis is generating criticism

within his party. END SUMMARY

 

2. (U) In brief remarks to reporters on the evening of March

15, Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda called

on the opposing sides to work together to end the crisis and

restore stability to the country. \”I ask everyone to take

action for the interests of the country…think of how to

defuse the political situation.\” Prem did not answer

reporter\’s questions about whether the Prime Minister should

resign. Predictably, both factions seized on the statement as

evidence of royal support for their side. According to a new

ABAC poll (generally considered reliable), a growing number

of Bangkokians (70 percent) want the Government and the

protesters to hold peaceful talks and end the stalemate.

 

PROTESTS CONTINUE

 

3. (U) Three former Thai Ambassadors, including Kasit Piromya

(NOTE: Ambassador to the United States from 2004-2005. END

NOTE) and Asda Jayanama, former UN Perm Rep., addressed the

PAD-led rally last night. Also present was media advocate

Supinya Klangnarong, appearing mere hours after a Thai court

found her not guilty of libeling the Thaksin family\’s Shin

Corporation in a 2003 newspaper interview. The three

Ambassadors criticized Thaksin\’s foreign policy, claiming

that state visits to India were largely missions to benefit

his own personal business interests. They called Thaksin\’s

handling of the Southern situation inept, and said that his

policies had failed to take into account the cultural

uniqueness of the South. Ambassador Kasit noted that

Bangkok-based diplomats disapproved of the Prime Minister\’s

\”lack of morality\” but did not voice their opinions openly.

(NOTE: Both Kasit and Asda are known for their particularly

strong views against Deputy PM Surakiart Sathirathai. END

NOTE)

 

4. (U) Tens of thousands of anti-Thaksin protesters,

meanwhile, remain outside Government House. Protests

remained peaceful, and a potential confrontation with the

pro-Thaksin \”Caravan of the Poor\”, consisting of mostly

agricultural supporters from Thailand\’s rural North and

Northeast, was averted when the latter decided to stage their

rally in northern Bangkok, instead of in the vicinity of the

anti-Thaksin protesters at Government House.

 

DISSENSION IN THE TRT RANKS?

 

5. (U) In a meeting with Poloff, a TRT incumbent from the

Eastern seaboard province of Chonburi expressed unhappiness

with Thaksin\’s handling of the political crisis. Noting that

his Thai Rak Thai party had occupied 373 seats in the Thai

Parliament prior to dissolution, this MP viewed Thaksin\’s

move to dissolve the assembly as self-serving. He noted that

he was running unopposed in his district since all of his

opponents, all from largely unknown minor parties, had been

disqualified. He said that despite the lack of opponents, he

was having to run a harder campaign than in 2005 due to

heightened public scrutiny and disillusionment with TRT

politicians. Local contacts noted that Thaksin still had the

support of the rural population, but that this support was

slipping due to the increasingly \”balanced\” coverage of the

crisis in the media, particularly television.

 

PRIME MINISTER READY FOR A BREAK?

 

7. (SBU) COMMENT. Thaksin and his inner circle continued to

disavow any intention of resigning. That said, there has

been predictable speculation about Thaksin\’s comments at a

Thai Rak Thai rally in Nakhon Ratchasima when he said that,

under certain circumstances, he would be open to \”going on a

break.\” Although both sides still claim to have the upper

hand, many of the breaks, e.g. the rulings by the Election

Commission, don\’t seem to be going Thaksin\’s way.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 10, 2011 at 5:25 am

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