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PM Yingluck Seen As Taking Orders From Thaksin, Overshadowed By Chalerm


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ANALYSIS

Who's really in charge here?

By Political Desk

The Nation

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Quiet PM seen as taking orders from Thaksin, overshadowed by Chalerm, while reds wait in the wings

A Thai newspaper article has described Thailand as a "Land of Three Prime Ministers", referring to Yingluck Shinawatra, her brother-in-exile Thaksin and Chalerm Yoobamrung. The trio form a unique political bunch - a woman who is never really in control, a man who has long been uncontrollable, and another man who's threatening to get out of control.

The "three prime ministers" jibe is not totally sarcastic. In fact, it captures perfectly the main trouble battering the fledgling government. Yingluck completed her first month as prime minister last week, but to her, August 8 must seem much longer ago than that. She has yet to lose her cool in public, but government and Pheu Thai insiders claimed they would be happier if she did bang the table occasionally and issue a few orders.

Yingluck is no Thaksin, and Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit is no "crisis politician". That is why the government's response to the flood disaster, which is far less severe than the one that hit during the Abhisit government, has been greeted with more criticism than praise. This awkward response to the flooding might also signal a deeper problem: The Yingluck Cabinet may not have the strong characters needed to push through contentious policies and to cope with fierce politics, whether it's out in the open or in the backrooms.

Yingluck has had to rely on Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm when it comes to sensitive issues like an amnesty for Thaksin. If Chalerm is a "strong" character, he is also a walking time bomb. The swift elimination of police chief Wichean Potephosree has turned the National Security Council (NSC) into a potential political volcano and pitted Chalerm against another deputy prime minister. Kowit Wattana, normally a patient man, has reportedly taken the trouble to call Thaksin to complain about the spill-over of the police affair affecting the NSC, which is under his supervision.

The police chief is being removed to make way for someone to whom the premier was once related by marriage - and the NSC chief, caught up in the shuffle, is taking legal action to defend his job. Any prime minister in such a situation would be expected to say something about it. But Yingluck has let Chalerm do all the talking, and he has accepted the authority with glee and wielded it without restraint. He cursed. He swore. He taunted. At one point, Chalerm, speaking in public, wished eternal hell on his enemies in regards to the police chief-NSC saga.

To let Chalerm try to install Priewpan Damapong as new police chief is dangerous. To put him in charge of the plan to bring Thaksin home borders on suicide. Yingluck's comments on the amnesty plan simply echo her brief pre-election statement on the subject: The government is not in a hurry, and if amnesty does materialise, it will benefit everyone, not just someone. Again, Chalerm was handed the microphone - and he's clutched it like a bad karaoke singer who couldn't care less about his dismayed audience.

Chalerm's appalled spectators included many Pheu Thai strategists, who have made their feelings known. When Chalerm was asked to comment on that on Friday, he predictably laughed it off and went on to explain that sincerity is often misinterpreted as aggression or provocation. He never let problems with critics interfere with his main job, though, as last week was spent primarily on arguing why Thaksin was entitled to an amnesty without serving a single day in jail.

The strategists themselves have turned from trouble-shooters to troublemakers. The senior ones reportedly gave Yingluck a headache last week by fighting over the chairmanship of what was intended to be a powerful advisory panel. The formation of the think tank was intended to help the inexperienced Yingluck, but Somchai Wongsawat, Noppadol Pattama and Chaturon Chaisaeng all wanted to head the panel, and the plan is said to have been put on the backburner.

Yingluck's first month was dominated by Chalerm, the police chief and Thaksin. The second month may see red-shirt leaders try to grab some of the limelight. Somehow, Jatuporn Promphan, allegedly with the help of fugitive Arisman Pongruangrong, has managed a soccer date with members of Cambodian leader Hun Sen's Cabinet. Such a friendly game was intended to help Yingluck secure the release of two yellow shirt activists, Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, and Jatuporn claimed similar matches were being planned with Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Burma.

At the first glance, soccer diplomacy sounds like a great idea. But in an interview with The Nation, Jatuporn revealed something that Yingluck should be worried about: The soccer plan is the red shirts' initiative, carried out with little - if any - consultation with her government. It's getting more and more apparent that the red shirts are unlikely to settle for jobs as ministerial secretaries or assistants, and the current assertion of clout may be just the beginning. The red shirts want payback, and obviously it's not just the military and the Democrats who "owe" them.

Controversial election promises are yet to be fulfilled. The labour movement has warned against "selective" or superficial implementation of the Bt300 daily minimum wage. The Civil Service Commission wants a salary structure overhaul instead of merely giving new graduates a Bt15,000 starting salary. In a sign of frustration, Yingluck has reportedly questioned an idea put forward by the leader of her economic team that she should go on a road-show to sell Thai rice in order to supplement the controversial rice-pledging programme.

"It's rice we are talking about here, not stocks," she was quoted as saying in response to Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong's idea.

Most, if not all, of this trouble can be traced back to the uncontrollable man in Dubai, who assigned to Yingluck advisers that she has rarely used. Although she is surrounded by big names like General Panlop Pinmanee, Olarn Chaipravat, Suchon Chaleekrua, General Chaisit Shinawatra and Suchon Charmpoonod, it is believed that they were not picked by the prime minister herself. Instead, they were given these posts as a political reward.

Yingluck still seems able to stand the heat, although she's standing right in the middle of the kitchen. Chalerm may be helping draw the fire away from her for now, but he's a mad cook. Thaksin is outside, so the big chef is not feeling the high temperature. Certainly, efforts are being made to keep Thailand's first female prime minister going, but Yingluck could be forgiven if she's feeling strangely isolated.

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-- The Nation 2011-09-12

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I myself donot try to read too much into what,where amd how a party in government anywhere in the world is ran. It is whether or not the people are benefitting from the leadership. I feel good leaders shoud delegate the work to be done to those capable. Leaders of a party are basically, just that leaders of a party not masters of the party. So they definitely donot have to weild their power directly in all matters. A good leader is a team player and believes in other members abilities to work for the same common good.

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I myself donot try to read too much into what,where amd how a party in government anywhere in the world is ran. It is whether or not the people are benefitting from the leadership. I feel good leaders shoud delegate the work to be done to those capable. Leaders of a party are basically, just that leaders of a party not masters of the party. So they definitely donot have to weild their power directly in all matters. A good leader is a team player and believes in other members abilities to work for the same common good.

Chalerm is on the news almost every night talking at length, often violently, on the intentions of "his" government. Anybody that doesn't understand what he's been saying doesn't have a full picture of how off the rails this regime is.

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Could be an interesting tussle for power before long. Chalerm has been after the prime Ministers position as long as Samak was.

Chalerm like Samak would skin a wet fart with a blunt knife if he thought it would increased his chances of power.

Thaksin may well have a loose cannon aboard his ship of state.

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Edited by siampolee
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The attitude of many bosses is to employee people down the chain of command, who are no threat mental to the boss. They are given gofer tasks and the boss runs the show. The problem here is the big boss may be sharper than little sis, but she has surrounded herself with some people whose social/political background have shown virtually zero concern for the common good much less the law of the land which they are tasked to uphold.

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The attitude of many bosses is to employee people down the chain of command, who are no threat mental to the boss. They are given gofer tasks and the boss runs the show. The problem here is the big boss may be sharper than little sis, but she has surrounded herself with some people whose social/political background have shown virtually zero concern for the common good much less the law of the land which they are tasked to uphold.

".....but she has surrounded herself with some people whose social/political background have shown virtually zero concern for the common good much less the law of the land which they are tasked to uphold."

Well said.

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I myself donot try to read too much into what,where amd how a party in government anywhere in the world is ran. It is whether or not the people are benefitting from the leadership. I feel good leaders shoud delegate the work to be done to those capable. Leaders of a party are basically, just that leaders of a party not masters of the party. So they definitely donot have to weild their power directly in all matters. A good leader is a team player and believes in other members abilities to work for the same common good.

Thaksin isn't delegating very well. He's got a useless face at the front, that can't answer a question, and an attack dog tasked with getting control of everything and getting Thaksin back without having to go to jail.

No good leaders in that lot.

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I don't think any of this will really surprise the Thai electorate, whichever side they voted for.

The only thing that stood out for me is that the article suggests a widening rift between PTP and red shirt people. Although it is something that may eventually happen, I think this is just The Nation trying to stir opinion up as usual.

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:unsure:

A Thai newspaper article has described Thailand as a "Land of Three Prime Ministers", referring to Yingluck Shinawatra, her brother-in-exile Thaksin and Chalerm Yoobamrung.

"Land of Three Prime Ministers"

Can we expect that to be the new Tourist Authority of Thailand slogan to promote tourisim in Thailand?

Come visit Thailand, Land of the Three Prime Ministers.

:D

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I don't think any of this will really surprise the Thai electorate, whichever side they voted for.

The only thing that stood out for me is that the article suggests a widening rift between PTP and red shirt people. Although it is something that may eventually happen, I think this is just The Nation trying to stir opinion up as usual.

Indeed. The government and its actions will be judged by the people at the next election. In the meantime the anti-Thaksinista media and opposition can play the propaganda war with the government and the Thaksinista media. More interesting now is that the part of the Thai media with the biggest readership seems to have at least made a move to a more neutral position if not even gone slightly Thaksinista. While commenting on the PTP-red split, which right now is wishful thinking, little attention is paid to the splits in the anti-Thaksin alliance with the liberal wing and authoritarians drifting apart and the PAD sitting on the sidelines enjoying the Dems suffering. Interesting that the English language media doesnt analyse this but not surprising when considering the Nation has a known line with a couple of exceptions and the Post ownership

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The PAD spokesman was on TV last night saying they would oppose any proposed amnesty for Thaksin.

Chalerm's been told to shut up by senior Pheua Thai but he loves the spotlight too much, like Thaksin he's excellent at making many enmies with his arrogance and sarcasm.

His daily one man talk show about Thaksin could be an attempt to divert attention from the failure to secure the minimum 300 baht a day wage and 15,000 baht salary.

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:unsure:

A Thai newspaper article has described Thailand as a "Land of Three Prime Ministers", referring to Yingluck Shinawatra, her brother-in-exile Thaksin and Chalerm Yoobamrung.

"Land of Three Prime Ministers"

Can we expect that to be the new Tourist Authority of Thailand slogan to promote tourisim in Thailand?

Come visit Thailand, Land of the Three Prime Ministers.

:D

:thumbsup:

pair with Tourism Authority of Thailand's pre-existing slogan, Unseen Thailand

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The PAD spokesman was on TV last night saying they would oppose any proposed amnesty for Thaksin.

Chalerm's been told to shut up by senior Pheua Thai but he loves the spotlight too much, like Thaksin he's excellent at making many enmies with his arrogance and sarcasm.

His daily one man talk show about Thaksin could be an attempt to divert attention from the failure to secure the minimum 300 baht a day wage and 15,000 baht salary.

Constantly talking about Thaksin keeps the rural base interested too. Thaksin is very popular in the sticks and a lot of those people want him back.

If the PAD go to the streets to try and prevent it, the reds will take to the streets to try and force it. Then what happens? The military are not seen as neutral so they cant really intervene and say they are doing it to save the country. There is a lot of brinksmanship going on but try finding people who dont think Thaksin will return. Im not talking about people who dont want him back, but actually think he wont be back. The PAD supporters I have talked to all think he is returning

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The PAD spokesman was on TV last night saying they would oppose any proposed amnesty for Thaksin.

Chalerm's been told to shut up by senior Pheua Thai but he loves the spotlight too much, like Thaksin he's excellent at making many enmies with his arrogance and sarcasm.

His daily one man talk show about Thaksin could be an attempt to divert attention from the failure to secure the minimum 300 baht a day wage and 15,000 baht salary.

Constantly talking about Thaksin keeps the rural base interested too. Thaksin is very popular in the sticks and a lot of those people want him back.

If the PAD go to the streets to try and prevent it, the reds will take to the streets to try and force it. Then what happens? The military are not seen as neutral so they cant really intervene and say they are doing it to save the country. There is a lot of brinksmanship going on but try finding people who dont think Thaksin will return. Im not talking about people who dont want him back, but actually think he wont be back. The PAD supporters I have talked to all think he is returning

I don't think we can predict if or when Thaksin will be back, now maybe the best time whilst the government is still in its honeymoon period, but that looks like ending now, the police chief is now his relative but the army is still run by his enemies. I think he won't dare come back until he's confident about his personal security and that day may be still be far off.

Even upcountry a lot of people don't care about Thaksin, they care about the policies and whether the policies will be delivered or not.

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There is a lot of brinksmanship going on

Agreed and who will be in the firing line ?

then ordinary citizen who will be duped into defending a cause for those more interested in their own ends than the nations ends as has been visibly demonstrated in the recent disturbances.

It is about one man Brother No.1, his family and their brown nosing acolytes. Nothing more, nothing less.

This country is on the brink of a catalyst, whether it is good or bad remains to be seen.

Scheloumoff,%20Athanas%20Ivanovich%20%20(1892%20-)%20-%20On%20The%20Brink%20Of%20The%20Abyss.jpg

Edited by siampolee
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There is a lot of brinksmanship going on

Agreed and who will be in the firing line ?

then ordinary citizen who will be duped into defending a cause for those more interested in their own ends than the nations ends as has been visibly demonstrated in the recent disturbances.

It is about one man Brother No.1, his family and their brown nosing acolytes. Nothing more, nothing less.

This country is on the brink of a catalyst, whether it is good or bad remains to be seen.

Scheloumoff,%20Athanas%20Ivanovich%20%20(1892%20-)%20-%20On%20The%20Brink%20Of%20The%20Abyss.jpg

The ones who currently need to dupe the people into coming onto the streets to fight for a cause are the establishment as the other lot are in power. Without street demos they cant really do anything or try to peddle a line of country in crisis

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:unsure:

A Thai newspaper article has described Thailand as a "Land of Three Prime Ministers", referring to Yingluck Shinawatra, her brother-in-exile Thaksin and Chalerm Yoobamrung.

"Land of Three Prime Ministers"

Can we expect that to be the new Tourist Authority of Thailand slogan to promote tourisim in Thailand?

Come visit Thailand, Land of the Three Prime Ministers.

:D

You mean another hub, right?:lol:

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Well who did Abhisit take orders from and then there were all those nice little BJT ministers taking orders from the banned one too. Guess not a lot changes but at least with Thaksin it is in the open and analysed to death.

Edited to add: its not long till the 111 are unfettered too. Should make for some fun and help PTP get over the current disadvantages they face in the political landscape.

Edited by hammered
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The PAD spokesman was on TV last night saying they would oppose any proposed amnesty for Thaksin.

Chalerm's been told to shut up by senior Pheua Thai but he loves the spotlight too much, like Thaksin he's excellent at making many enmies with his arrogance and sarcasm.

His daily one man talk show about Thaksin could be an attempt to divert attention from the failure to secure the minimum 300 baht a day wage and 15,000 baht salary.

Constantly talking about Thaksin keeps the rural base interested too. Thaksin is very popular in the sticks and a lot of those people want him back.

If the PAD go to the streets to try and prevent it, the reds will take to the streets to try and force it. Then what happens? The military are not seen as neutral so they cant really intervene and say they are doing it to save the country. There is a lot of brinksmanship going on but try finding people who dont think Thaksin will return. Im not talking about people who dont want him back, but actually think he wont be back. The PAD supporters I have talked to all think he is returning

I don't think we can predict if or when Thaksin will be back, now maybe the best time whilst the government is still in its honeymoon period, but that looks like ending now, the police chief is now his relative but the army is still run by his enemies. I think he won't dare come back until he's confident about his personal security and that day may be still be far off.

Even upcountry a lot of people don't care about Thaksin, they care about the policies and whether the policies will be delivered or not.

I agree about his security.

I also agree about some upcountry liking the policies. The problem though is that most people seem to think the policies were smoothest and best when he was in the country running things. Even if Yingluck fails to keep them satisfied it could just increase a yearning for him back in power in respect of policy enactment. The advantage that accrues from being the first to use modern marketing and PR in Thai politics at the same time as being the first to introduce a populist and pro-poor agenda are immense. I still find it hard to understand that the Dems still cant make the PR/marketing change although I do understand the power structure within the party and the culture inhibits any change, but that is where they fail very very badly.

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It seems PM Hun Sen of Cambodia said today that k. Thaksin will begin a visit to Cambodia on Sept 16 to attend the Asian Economic Forum Conference on the 19th. K. Thaksin would stay from 16 till 24.

K. Noppadon has already said the trip has not been confirmed yet.

In another development our PM, the ever smiling Ms. Yingluck will make a one-day visit to Cambodia on Thursday the 15th.

Till now no overlap in stay in Cambodia, but watch these pages for updates which are bound to follow :rolleyes:

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Maybe Charlem can take over when its gets too much for Yingluck (or give her a massage!).

I wonder how the relationship between Charlem and Taksin works? I though Taksin had been worried in the past about Charlem being too ambious and taking away his power? Maybe thats Charlems plan, but then again he doesn't have the financial resources compared to Taksin. Money seems to be the only thing that matters in Thailand.

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