March 28, 2014 00:00 By Samudcha Hoonsara
During campaigning for the 2011 general election, Yingluck Shinawatra, who was Pheu Thai Party's prime ministerial candidate, was asked by reporters to comment on a remark by her brother Thaksin Shinawatra that she was his "political clone".
Yingluck said that she had an opportunity to learn from Thaksin about his ideas, vision, and the style of his political work. She had closely followed his work so she understood his views.
When she was asked if she was ready to face similar experiences as Thaksin, Yingluck paused briefly before saying: “As a clone, I understand and adopt his ideas of running business and management. But I will make decisions myself.”
Now, almost three years later, the prospects of Yingluck “facing similar experiences” as Thaksin are more likely than before. For some political observers, Yingluck may even suffer the same political fate as her brother.
Thaksin, a two-time prime minister, was ousted by the military in 2006 and the coup-makers accused him of corruption and abuse of power, among other allegations.
In 2008, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced him to two years in jail for abuse of power while in office, in connection with his then-wife’s purchase of a coveted state-seized land plot.
The law prohibits any political office holder and their spouse from entering into an agreement with the state.
The ex-premier, who is believed to be pulling the ruling party’s strings, has lived in self-exile overseas to avoid imprisonment.
Yingluck has been accused by the National Anti-Corruption Commission of dereliction of duty, in connection with the government’s loss-making and corruption-plagued rice price-pledging scheme. She is also being investigated by the anti-graft agency for allegedly condoning corruption.
In 2011, public opinion polls showed that Yingluck’s popularity exceeded that of Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva after trailing behind him initially. The election result in July that year showed that Pheu Thai won 264 MP seats and the Democrats 161.
Pheu Thai’s victory catapulted Yingluck, a political novice who had been in politics for 49 days before the election, to the premiership.
Thaksin’s “clone” has suffered from political impacts similar to those her brother faced. Their stories seem to come from the same script. The actors are different in this “remake” but the substance is the same.
Cases against Yingluck are under way – and some of them carry criminal penalties and impeachment. The results of those cases are expected in the near future.
Yingluck is a Scorpio, so is Suthep Thaugsuban, the top leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
“They both are now in a time of trouble,” said a senior journalist whose hobby is astrology,
“Scorpio people are fighters and they are ready to fight until death. They don’t give up easily unless they are in a life-threatening situation.”
Suthep, who was a close friend and political ally of Thaksin, was behind the legal move that led to a Constitutional Court ruling in 2006 that the election in April that year should be nullified because it was organised in an unconstitutional way.
Thaksin at that time headed a caretaker government and the election was boycotted by the Democrat Party, which it also did in February.
This year, Suthep was blamed for disruptions that led to a Constitutional Court ruling that the February election was void.
This man from Surat Thani caused much trouble for Thaksin and is doing the same to Yingluck.