Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sonthi Who?

Sonthi issues veiled warning to Thaksin


Bangkok Post


Gen Sonthi said he was confident that Mr Thaksin was not a vengeful man.

''I believe in Pol Lt-Col Thaksin's good character. But I am not quite so sure about other people,'' he said.

However, the deputy prime minister said he had no regrets about staging the coup and had never thought it was a mistake.

''The coup was unavoidable because of the divisions in the country, the interference in independent organisations, the lese majeste charges and the lack of confidence in the leadership.

''I had to do it. The seizure of power was not a waste of time,'' he said.

He did not rule himself out of politics, but the decision would depend on the situation after the PPP forms the government. If the same problems crop up under the PPP administration, he may decide to re-enter politics.

''I don't want politics to be seen as bad and dirty. If people think that way, the new generation will turn their backs on politics and good people will refuse to work for the country,'' he said.

Gen Sonthi was appointed a deputy prime minister after retiring as army commander in September last year.

He was placed in charge of national security and tasked with cracking down on vote buying in the Dec 23 election.

He plans to visit Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Dubai to promote relations with the Muslim world at the end of this month.

Maybe Sonthi should have visited his Muslim brothers before the coup. He might have learned how to run an effective dictatorship. Now, he is just sad and pathetic. A national disgrace on all fronts with millions sitting in his bank accounts.

1 comment:

Kris Koles said...

from today's Bangkok Post, this article is pure Thailand.........

Army boss 'phones Thaksin'

Source: Fears defence post will go to civilian


Army chief Anupong Paojinda has contacted ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra out of concern the defence minister's post will be given to a civilian, an army source said yesterday.

The move came after Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was widely tipped to take the defence portfolio in addition to being head of government.

Mr Samak did not mention a decision to take the two posts. After receiving His Majesty the King's endorsement as prime minister, he made a plea for time to prove his ability to run the country through ''turbulent times''.

People Power party (PPP) secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee, a broker in the cabinet portfolio negotiations, said a final cabinet line-up list would be submitted to Mr Samak for approval at the party meeting today.

PPP deputy leader Somchai Wongsawat, who is Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law and one of the negotiators with the five coalition partners _ Chart Thai, Puea Pandin, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana, Matchimathipataya and Pracharaj _ said the list should be be proposed for royal endorsement this week.

Gen Anupong telephoned Mr Thaksin, who is in Hong Kong, to confirm exactly who would be in charge of the Defence Ministry, said the source, who is a member of Class 10 of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.

Both Gen Anupong and Mr Thaksin were members of Class 10 at the pre-cadet school.

Gen Anupong played a key role in deposing Mr Thaksin from power in the coup on Sept 19, 2006 led by then army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin.

The coup-makers have insinuated that they do not want either Mr Samak or PPP deputy leader Gen Ruengroj Mahasaranont to be defence minister, the source said.

But a high-level PPP source confirmed the choice for Mr Samak as the defence minister had already been finalised.

The source said the choice did not mean the pro-Thaksin PPP wanted to control the armed forces.

The party would not interfere in military affairs, but needed Mr Samak in this key cabinet position to cut the connection between the armed forces and the ''Si Sao residence'', the source added.

The source was referring to Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, who lives at Si Sao Thewes.

Thaksin loyalists have long suspected that Gen Prem was behind the coup.

Mr Samak assured both supporters and sceptics in his televised speech to an audience he described as ''two groups of people'' that he has the ability to govern the country.

''Whether you are on my side or on that of those who dislike me, I want you to know that I am the leader of this political party,'' said the PPP leader, who has been criticised as being a proxy for Mr Thaksin.

''It's the first time I have taken the premiership, and I want to assure you that I can do the job,'' he said. He was speaking at his residence, where the party's MPs and representatives of his coalition allies gathered to celebrate his endorsement as prime minister by His Majesty.

The top job at Government House did not need someone with expertise in all areas, he said. As a politician who understood political tricks he could lead the cabinet and look after the country.

Running the country was like driving a car, where all the driver had to do was ask those who knew how it functioned, he said, a reference to getting advice from members of his cabinet.

He even pledged to try to be patient with a certain profession which has criticised his qualifications, but whom he declined to name. It is understood Mr Samak was referring to the media.

Gen Anupong said he was ready to serve under the new prime minister even though Mr Samak had once implied confirmation that he was a nominee for Mr Thaksin.

''We are aware of our role as state officials and are ready to act on the orders of those in power. Politicians formulate policies. We implement them,'' Gen Anupong said.