PREMIER URGES VOTERS TO NOT BE INFLUENCED, EX-PM MARKS 2006 COUP THAT OUSTED HIM
PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday called on people to exercise their voting rights, and expressed concerns about the “same old political issues” returning after the next general elections.
The premier brought up the issue while he was meeting locals yesterday before holding a mobile Cabinet meeting in Phetchabun province.
Mid conversation, Prayut suddenly started telling people to not get influenced by anyone telling them to abstain from casting their ballots, adding that this might be done to sway the vote.
“If this happens, we’ll return to the same old problems,” he said. “Democracy should not lead the country back to conflicts. It should also allow for institutions like the nation, monarch and religion.”
With the national election currently slated for February, Prayut said this was the time to move towards democracy.
“Over the past four years, many things have improved and if this continues, things will get even better,” he said. “The future government should take care of everybody – the majority and minorities.”
Meanwhile, in a rare move, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra took to Facebook yesterday to recall the 2006 military coup that ousted his government, which was when political conflicts began in the country. Today marks the 12th year since the coup.
“I want everyone to try to be neutral and see if Thailand has improved since then,” Thaksin’s post read.
The post went on say that Thailand had seen two coups that ousted two prime ministers who are siblings and the most popular premiers in Thai history. Some people have benefited from such changes, while others have experienced severe failure, the post read.
Many people had been maltreated due to their different political stance, landing in jail or facing intimidation, he wrote, asking if this was what Thais wanted to do to one another.
“Is it time yet for us to talk this through, or will we just keep fighting?” the ousted premier, who has lived in self-exile for more than a decade, asked. He added that the country had been hurt because of the conflict, when it should have been developed to keep pace with the fast-changing world.
Thaksin said he grieved about what had happened to his beloved country, apart from his personal loss of having to live away from his home and family. He also thanked his supporters who have remained faithful, adding he had forgiven those who had been unkind to him.