January 13, 2014 00:00
By Hataikarn Treesuwan
'Decree for reforms would take away legitimacy for campaign against govt'
The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee, led by Suthep Thaugsuban, believes the people will succeed in overthrowing the “Thaksin regime”. They are hoping the planned “Bangkok shutdown” will force caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra out of her post soon.
Today, while a great mass of people is expected to come out strongly against the caretaker government to walk on every street and shut down the capital, a key figure of the Pheu Thai Party, Watana Muang-sook, who is a close aide of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, told The Nation that he does not think Suthep can get close to victory. It is a troublesome situation for the PDRC leaders.
“I don’t know how it can happen. How can the PDRC have many protesters who will occupy the seven intersections for a long time? You know it was not hard for Adolph Hitler to order an invasion of countries in World War II, but it was very difficult to control those areas,” he said.
The Bangkok shutdown would not affect the caretaker government, but the lives of Bangkok people would be really affected. The PDRC would become an enemy of the people, he said.
He added that the PDRC movement appeared to be failing in its fight against the Yingluck administration for two reasons:
First, people would not go out en masse to protest with Suthep if the caretaker government decided to issue an executive decree setting up a reform committee as proposed by 25 private organisations, in a politically neutral manner.
“If Suthep and his fellow protesters refused to join this forum, it means that they do not want reforms but want to have power. The planned Bangkok shutdown aims to oust the caretaker government, not initiate reform,” he said.
Second, a military coup to lead the country out of the crisis is out of the question in the future. The military top brass has learned its lessons from the 2006 coup, staged by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin. Many foreign countries also say no to a coup and support the February 2 election. And a huge number of people, including the pro-government red shirts and the no-colour shirts, are ready to fight against any coup.
“Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha wouldn’t dare to do so. He has just nine months left for retirement. If he staged a coup and was not upgraded by being appointed to a big role, why would he do it?” he said.
The military would cooperate with the government if the emergency decree was invoked to keep peace and order.
“I never thought that outlaw groups would declare themselves victorious in this fight,” he said. During the 73 days leading up to the protest, Suthep has stood in a strong position with a massive turn-out.
“If citizens and intellectuals, who were part of the rally, step out, the fight on the streets would inevitably come to an end. Then Suthep and the core PDRC leaders have to enter the reconciliation process,” he said.