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06BANGKOK5834 THAILAND UPDATE: LIFE RETURNING TO NORMAL

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“79222”,”9/21/2006 11:28″,”06BANGKOK5834″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,”VZCZCXRO5737

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1806

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2122

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 005834

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

TREASURY PASS TO FRB SAN FRANCISCO/TERESA CURRAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: THAILAND UPDATE: LIFE RETURNING TO NORMAL

 

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

 

1. (C) Summary: The press published a \”royal order\” from

the King appointing General Sonthi as leader of the Council

for Democratic Reform. Public opinion polls have varying

estimates of the popularity of the coup, but opinion in

Bangkok remains positive. Whatever discontent people

upcountry may feel seems to be under wraps, at least for the

time being. One former assistant to DPM (and Thai Rak Thai

stalwart) Suwat Liptapanlop called the coup \”the best

alternative to solving the political crisis\” and claimed that

the detained former ministers were playing cards and eating

well. The anti-Thaksin auditor-general will continue to work

to root out corruption, and the new Election Commission will

begin preparing for local elections.

 

KING\’S ENDORSEMENT

——————

 

2. (C) The press published a \”royal order\” appointing

General Sonthi Boonyaratklin as \”Leader of the Council for

Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM).

(A \”royal order\” is the normal format for appointing a

high-ranking official.) The order instructs all Thai people

to remain peaceful and all government officials to follow the

orders of General Sonthi. This text appeared as one of the

series of announcements from the CDRM, and not (or at least

not yet) as a separate publication from the Palace.

 

Full text of royal order:

 

General Sonthi has reported the government under the

leadership of Police LTCOL Thaksin Shinawatra had caused

unprecedented conflicts, division and devastation of

integrity and unity among the Thai people and that the

majority of the people had had doubts about the honesty of

the government due to widespread corruption and political

intervention in independent organizations, thus adversely

affecting and impeding political activities of the country.

Despite continued efforts of many sectors, the situation has

not improved and peace has not yet been restored to the

country. A joint military, police and civilian group,

calling itself the Council for Democratic Reform under the

Constitutional Monarchy led by Gen. Sonthi has therefore

seized control of the government in order to restore peace

and unity to the country.

 

Therefore, His Majesty hereby appoints Gen. Sonthi as leader

of the Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional

Monarchy, and calls on the Thai people to remain peaceful and

all government officials to follow the orders of General

Sonthi.

 

End text

 

MORE REACTIONS

————–

 

3. (C) A few pro-Thaksin websites called for Thaksin

supporters to rally at the Democracy Monument, but there are

so far no reports of any actual rallies or public displays of

support for the former PM. Am Amcit living in Khon Kaen (the

heart of Thaksin country, in the Northeast) reported no signs

of disturbance and no public indication of support for the

deposed PM.

 

4. (C) The newspapers are reporting the results of a public

opinion poll that shows a whopping 86.36 percent of people in

the countryside approve of the coup, along with 81.6 percent

of the people of Bangkok. According to another polling

organization, however, only about 50-55 percent of Bangkok

actually support the coup, while only about 35 percent of the

people in the North and 30 percent in the Northeast do

(Comment: Still, higher than we would have expected in these

pro-Thaksin strongholds. End comment.) The approval numbers

in the South are the highest (60-65 percent). This poll was

conducted for the Army, and the results will probably not be

released publicly.

 

5. (SBU) At the Foreign Correspondents\’ Club on September 20,

a full house heard several prominent Thaksin critics talk

about the coup and the future. They repeated the common

 

BANGKOK 00005834 002 OF 002

 

refrain of \”what else could we have done?\” Looking forward,

several warned that Thaksin was likely to fight back.

Several also commented on the prospects for another new Thai

constitution. One advised that the Thai needed to get over

their fixation on using constitutional reform to solve

political problems. \”Something else is wrong with Thai

democracy.\”

 

WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?

———————-

 

6. (C) When the CDRM took over on Tuesday night, it

disbanded the Cabinet and the Parliament, and terminated the

Constitution. A debate has ensued about how and whether

various independent agencies set up by the now-defunct

Constitution should function. The CDRM today announced that

the State Audit Commission was dissolved, but the Office of

the Auditor-General (OAG) would continue to exist to

investigate official corruption. Auditor-General Jaruvan

Maintaka was nearly removed from her job last year, when

technical problems with her appointment were exploited by

politicians allegedly unhappy with her investigative zeal.

Jaruvan was a cause-celebre and her case was seen as one of

the early proxy battles between Thaksin and the King. The OAG

announced it would continue to investigate the cases of

official corruption which occurred while Thaksin was prime

minister. (Comment: This may be seen as a warning shot

across Thaksin\’s bow, implying a threat to continue pursuing

corruption cases that could target him or his close

associates.)

 

7. (C) The CDRM also announced that the recently-named

Election Commissioners will continue to work, in the first

instance by organizing local elections \”as authorized by

relevant laws.\”

 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

——————-

 

8. (U) Press reports that two former ministers, Newin

Chidchob and Yongyuth Tiyapairat, have turned themselves in

to the CDRM as requested. Both of them were viewed as \”dirty

tricks\” experts for the PM and were particularly unpopular.

 

9. (C) Poloff lunched with several beneficiaries of our

International Visitors program today, one of whom had worked

for DPM Suwat Liptapanlop until Tuesday\’s coup. Asked about

the coup, the former aide said it was \”the best alternative

to resolving the political crisis.\” Poloff expressed

concerns about the status of members of TRT who were being

detained by the CDRM. Our contact said, with a notable lack

of sympathy for his former colleagues, that there was no need

to worry about them; they were all old friends who were

playing cards together and eating well.

 

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 13, 2011 at 5:53 am

Posted in Confidential, Court

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