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06BANGKOK1767 PRIVY COUNCILOR PREM THINKS THAKSIN SHOULD GO, BUT STAYS ABOVE THE FRAY

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“57597”,”3/22/2006 11:51″,”06BANGKOK1767″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“06BANGKOK1627|06BANGKOK1667″,”VZCZCXRO7912

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #1767/01 0811151

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 221151Z MAR 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7385

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 001767

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: PRIVY COUNCILOR PREM THINKS THAKSIN SHOULD GO, BUT

STAYS ABOVE THE FRAY

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 1667

B. BANGKOK 1627

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Privy Councilor Gen. Prem says that PM

Thaksin should \”go now,\” but he will not be the one to tell

him. He told the Ambassador in a meeting March 22 that

Thaksin\’s hawkish advisors do not have the country\’s best

interests at heart. He agreed with the \”doves\” in the ruling

party that Thaksin needed to step down now to preserve any

hope of a future political life. He is concerned that the

April 2 elections will be a huge waste of money that will

just result in more political problems. However, Prem is

still unwilling to try to speak to the PM himself. He seems

to hope still for a solution without intervention from the

Privy Council or the Palace. End summary.

 

2. (C) Ambassador made a low-key call on Privy Councilor

Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda on March 22. Prem is one of the most

respected elder statesmen in the Kingdom, and known to be

very close to the King. Prem was most interested in hearing

the Ambassador\’s observations about the current political

impasse. Based on our discussions around town, the

Ambassador described two political groups within the ruling

Thai Rak Thai (TRT), the \”hawks\” and the \”doves\”. PM Thaksin

was surrounded by the hawks (MP Newin, Natural Resources

Minister Yongyuth, DPM Wisanu, PM\’s Secretary-General

Prommin). They were telling Thaksin to keep fighting, that

the election would demonstrate his popularity and prove to be

his vindication. The doves, like DPM Surakiart and Education

Minister Chaturon (refs) believe that the window is rapidly

closely on any chance Thaksin has of preserving his political

future. They believe that his only hope is to \”take a break\”

from politics for the good of the country, let there be a

real multi-party election and political reform. In the

election that follows this process, he might be able to

participate. Prem responded, \”The doves are right.\”

 

3. (C) Prem said that he did not know whose interests the

hawks were serving, but it was not the interests of the

country. Prem noted that Thaksin seemed to be fleeing from

Bangkok, unable to function in the capital — a terrible

image for the PM. The Ambassador said that the doves

appeared to be at a loss, without access to Thaksin to give

him a more realistic account of the situation. They had

encouraged the Ambassador to let Prem know about their

concerns, and they felt that only some intervention from Prem

or Army Commander Gen. Sonthi would get through to Thaksin

and make him reconsider his position.

 

4. (C) Prem asked, rhetorically \”They think I should tell

the PM? I don\’t even know where he is.\” Surprisingly, Prem

said that Thaksin did not listen to his advice in any case.

In Prem\’s view, the doves should get together and go to

Thaksin themselves to make their case. He encouraged the

Ambassador to convey that view to the TRT members who had

approached him. In Prem\’s view, if Thaksin decided now to

\”take a break,\” he might have a political future. The Thai

courts would protect his assets if he had, in fact, done

nothing wrong — and there is no proof that he has. He may

think that he can last through the election, get his

vindication, and then step down. But the election is a big

waste of money, and will result in all kinds of problems.

\”He needs to go now,\” Prem said.

 

5. (C) If Thaksin steps down now, according to Prem, most

people would welcome it, and Thaksin would \”win merit.\” If

he stays through the election, somehow seats a parliament and

returns as prime minister under dubious circumstances, the

mobs will just come back. The people want another prime

minister.

 

6. (C) Comment: As Prem requested, we will convey his

views to the TRT contacts who has spoken to us, although we

doubt they will have sufficient backbone to confront the PM,

or the wherewithal to get through to him. We note that Prem

may not be telling us everything. In May 1992, Ambassador

Lambertson called on him after several days of violence had

rocked Bangkok. He affected to be out of touch with the

situation, and revealed little of what was going on. That

evening, he brought the leaders of the two sides together for

their historic audience with the King, which led to the end

of the confrontation. During the meeting today, he was more

engaged and communicative, but still reluctant to tip his

hand. While he may be more involved than he lets on, we

believe that Prem\’s reluctance to meddle in politics is

genuine. This supports the view we have heard from others,

 

BANGKOK 00001767 002 OF 002

 

that the Palace still wants the two sides to resolve this

without royal intervention and is not yet ready to step in.

End comment.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 10, 2011 at 5:34 am

Posted in Confidential, Prem, Thaksin

2 Responses

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  1. […] cable he noted that the palace did not rule out intervention. Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda had already declared that Thaksin should go. Privy Councilor General Surayud Chulanont had told Boyce that the political situation was “a […]


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