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06BANGKOK1918 THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE: MARCH 30

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“58703”,”3/30/2006 10:13″,”06BANGKOK1918″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”06BANGKOK1888″,

“VZCZCXRO8123

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #1918 0891013

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 301013Z MAR 06 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7573

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 001918

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/29/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE: MARCH 30

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 1888

 

B. BANGKOK 1844

C. BANGKOK 1692

 

Classified By: Charge d\’Affaires Alex A. Arvizu for reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) Summary. Over 150,000 anti-Thaksin protesters

demonstrated peacefully last night in the heart of Bangkok\’s

upscale shopping district. This morning, the protesters

marched on the offices of the Election Commission where about

one thousand still remain this afternoon. PAD announced that

the demonstration would end this evening and that the next

large-scale demonstration will not be called until April 7.

However, a group of protesters remains camped in front of the

Election Commission offices demanding the resignation of the

Commissioners. As election day draws closer, the media is

reporting pessimistic leaks coming from TRT officials worried

about the party\’s ability to succeed in many of the

single-candidate races. End Summary.

 

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE MALLS

——————————

 

2. (U) Over 150,000 PAD-led protesters descended on Bangkok\’s

upscale shopping district yesterday evening. The event was

boisterous but peaceful, and the much feared traffic chaos

never materialized – or a least went unnoticed given the

normal state of traffic in Bangkok. This looked to us like

the biggest showing for an anti-Thaksin rally yet.

Protesters packed the four-lane street, the median, and the

broad sidewalks to listen to the usual fare of anti-Thaksin

rhetoric.

 

3. (C) Sensing that the mall closures and potential traffic

snarls caused by the protest\’s new venue were weakening their

support among Bangkok\’s shopping classes, the PAD announced

an early end to the demonstration in front of Siam Paragon

mall. At about 10:00am on Thursday, the remaining

demonstrators (approximately 5,000) marched from the shopping

district to the Election Commission (EC) to protest the

Commission\’s failure to take action against Thaksin for

allegations that he made illegal payments to entice

candidates from smaller parties to run it the April 2

election. Roads and shops that had closed during the protest

began reopening this afternoon following the PAD\’s departure.

 

4. (C) Some PAD leaders announced that the demonstrations

would end today and would not resume until April 7 to offer

protesters the chance to go to the polls (to check the \’no

vote\’ box) and take a break from the sweltering streets.

However, Chamlong Srimuang – leader of the Dharma Army –

hinted that his followers may continue their demonstration at

the EC offices. By late afternoon, a group of about a

thousand protesters remained in front of the EC offices.

Sources in the EC inform us that the demonstrators have set

up tents, blocked all of the exits from the building, and are

demanding the resignation of the Election Commissioners.

They expect the number of demonstrators to grow as people

begin to leave work for the evening.

 

TRYING IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD FAILURE

—————————————

 

5. (C) Signs of pessimism continue to leak out of TRT

rank-and-file. The Bangkok Post today cited an unnamed TRT

official voicing concern that as many as 100 of the TRT

candidates running unopposed might fail to secure the 20

percent of the electorate needed to win in their districts.

The source claimed that this estimate was based on results of

an internal TRT survey and was confirmed with a follow-up

survey. This figure is much gloomier than previous estimates

with regard to the number of seats at risk. Naturally, TRT

officially denied that any such internal survey was taken.

 

6. (C) COMMENT: Most assessments predict that 20 to 50 seats

may remain vacant due to unopposed candidates failing to

garner the votes of at least 20 percent of the electorate in

their constituencies on April 2. The leak from TRT about as

many as 100 seats going unfilled suggest growing frustration

among TRT rank-and-file with the party\’s leadership (Reftels

A, B, and C). For every note of pessimism from within TRT,

however, there are matching predictions of resounding victory

on April 2 from Thaksin stalwarts. Even at this late stage,

both sides seem convinced they have the upper hand. End

Comment.

ARVIZU

Written by thaicables

July 10, 2011 at 5:43 am

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