Pheu Thai accuses anti-govt movement of plot of evict PM; red leaders to meet in Korat today
The Pheu Thai Party has accused the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) of working on a four-step plan to overthrow the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra administration by mid-April.
But Anusorn Iamsa-ard, deputy spokesperson for the Pheu Thai Party, warned that such a move would create a political vacuum – and lead to a violent confrontation between supporters of both sides.
The four steps are: removing Yingluck via an impeachment over alleged corruption so her seat will be vacant; removing all cabinet members by implicating them in corruption in order to prevent anyone stepping up to replace Yingluck; petitioning for the nullification of the February 2 election if a new government cannot be formed 30 days after the election date as stipulated by law; and banning of 308 MPs and senators who supported a bid to amend the charter.
Anusorn said PDRC chief Suthep Thaugsuban had referred to the ‘shaking of the mango tree so the fruit will fall down’ theory. But he said Suthep risked uprooting the whole tree as they could not govern the country if the government was ousted through such means, because people, who hold the sovereign power, would not accept it.
He warned PDRC supporters to be mindful not to burn the whole country down as a result.
Meanwhile, the red-shirt movement will meet today. Some 4,000 leaders from around the nation are due to gather in Nakhon Ratchasima and come up with a plan to counter the PDRC’s attempt to dislodge the Yingluck administration.
Worachai Hema, a former Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader, also lashed out at the Civil Court, saying its recent ruling to forbid the government from dispersing PDRC protesters despite the imposition of an emergency decree risked an armed confrontation between both sides.
He asked if supporters of the PDRC wanted to see Thailand be split like the two Koreas, or a divided Vietnam during the Cold War.
Worachai claimed as many as a million red shirts were ready to descend on Bangkok but would be unarmed – and wanted to know if they would be killed like in 2010.
PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan denied that the protest movement had any such plan to oust the Yingluck administration. He said such talk was just created by Pheu Thai Party in order to try to mobilise red shirts to defend them and the ‘Thaksin Shinawatra regime’.
He said what the PDRC was doing now was an attempt to recall power from a tyrannical administration, which is corrupt.
Akanat said the PDRC had a two-step plan: after the Thaksin regime is overthrown and power returned to the people, it would launch a national reform process and allow everyone to equally participate.
Akanat called on red shirts to join the PDRC in ousting the government and insisted that PDRC was not fighting against red shirts – only the Thaksin regime. He said the red-shirt movement had been exploited by the Thaksin regime just like rice farmers.
The PDRC, he said, would continue to put pressure on businesses tied to the Shinawatra family, as well as those that support the regime. He called on people to stop using phone services from a company linked to Thaksin and noted that most Southerners have already made the switch.
PM staying at ‘safe house’
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has not returned home for four days due to security concerns and is believed to be staying at a “safe house” at an unknown location in Bangkok.
Police, however, continue to heavily guard her residence at Soi Yothin Pattana 3.
Yingluck was last seen in public when she made a nationally televised address on Wednesday about the rice-pledging scheme.
National Security Council secretary-general Lt-General Paradorn Pattanathabutr said the PM could hold upcountry Cabinet meetings or go to three of her ad hoc offices – the Army Club, the Air Force Command Centre and the Defence permanent secretary’s office.
Despite the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee vowing to hunt Yingluck down, Paradorn said the security for the prime minister was sufficient.
He said the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order would not be relocated from the Police Club despite protesters going there as its level of security was sufficient.
Other senior government figures had not request special security at their residences.
It was quiet at the office of the Defence Ministry’s permanent secretary yesterday, except for a crowd-handling drill involving three companies of army officers.
The drill involved a scenario where protesters headed to the compound from the south and officers kept them at bay or made a coordinated retreat.
It also included a scenario where protesters breached security and entered the building.
The focus of the drill was the protection of VIPs, particularly the prime minister.