JUNTA LEADERS became the objects of derision yesterday, when former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and his men began posting sarcastic messages about the premier and his No 2 man.
In a Twitter message, Thaksin said: “He looked and sounded intimidating and fearful. It’s so different from his soft and sweet manner when he was clinging to my table asking for the Army chief’s seat.”
He did not name anyone, but was obviously referring to Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who served as the Royal Thai Army commander-in-chief from October 2004 to September 2005. Thaksin was serving as premier at that time.
Thaksin also included a link in his tweet, which led readers to a report about General Prawit blaming the former PM for political conflicts and disorder in the country.
Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup in September 2006, has lived in self-exile since fleeing the country in 2008. The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced him in absentia to two years in jail for abuse of power.
On Tuesday, Thaksin posted a Facebook message recalling the military coup that overthrew his government. Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the 2006 military takeover.
In his post, Thaksin asked if Thailand had improved since the 2006 coup, noting that the last two coups had ousted two prime ministers who are siblings and the most popular government leaders in Thai history.
Meanwhile, both Thaksin’s son and a loyal party member poked fun at Prayut’s publicity campaign yesterday, saying it imitated the one used by the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party in the run-up to the 2005 general election.
An online poster issued by the Army Cyber Centre features the slogan “Four Years of Repair and Four More Years of Building”, with an image of a striding General Prayut. This is part of the government’s “Reform Together” campaign.
In 2005, Thaksin’s party used the exact same slogan in its election campaigning. The party won by a landslide, giving Thaksin another term as prime minister.
But he was ousted by the military just a little over a year later, in a coup led by Prawit’s successor, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.
Watana Muangsook, a key politician in the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party, tweeted yesterday: “That’s the same slogan Thai Rak Thai used in the 2005 election.
“If you want to copy, it’s better you try copying how Thaksin’s brains work, so the country will not be so disastrous.”
Thaksin’s son Panthongtae tweeted: “Dad, did you just buy the army webpage?” followed by two laughing emoticons. Panthongtae also ran the two campaign posters side by side for readers to compare.