Chalerm holding red and green cards: a bluff or a win

national December 08, 2011 00:00

By Avudh Panananda
The Nation

6,244 Viewed

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung has made two curious political moves.



On the one hand, Chalerm dropped a bombshell by asserting that a high-ranking police officer was the mastermind in the killing of red-shirt General Khattiya “Seh Daeng” Sawasdipol last May in connection with the political mayhem.

He also said the bloodshed at Bon Kai on Rama IV Road and at Soi Rangnam, which preceded the May 19 crackdown at the Ratchaprasong Intersection was attributed to plainclothes police and not soldiers as previously suspected.

His remarks completely clashed with the views aired by the red shirts, particularly Pheu Thai MP Jatuporn Promphan.

In the April censure debate against the Democrat-led government, Jatuporn pinned the blame on the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation and the security forces.

He and other red MPs said the military establishment put out the contract on Khattiya.

The burning question is why Chalerm suddenly appears at odds with his red allies.

Although he did not spearhead the censure against the Democrats, he echoed the red views before making an about-turn on Wednesday.

He further announced that he would asked Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to grant him a mandate to crackdown on cyberspace offences committed against the monarchy.

He outlined his strategy to work with the Army to quell the unroyalist movement.

He did not only sideline Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap, his Pheu Thai ally, but also hinted at strict law enforcement even if he had to uncover culprits linked to the red-shirt movement.

The political intrigue heightens as Chalerm revealed his two moves following a dinner with Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha organised the fence-mending between Chalerm and the military.

Last weekend, Chalerm flew to Beijing. He said he did not meet with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Upon his return, he said he encountered a very cold spell in China. A few days later, he orchestrated his make-over with the military.