Thaksin still very much the CEO of this govt
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Skype address on Monday marks a major political step for his supporters, because this is the first time that Pheu Thai Party MPs and ministers have proudly admitted that Thaksin is indeed fully involved in the party's affairs.The message Thaksin sent through his Skype address was loud and clear - he is the real boss. By criticising Pheu Thai ministers and rebuking MPs in Sudarat Keyuraphan's faction for not helping the party's gubernatorial candidate rally for votes, Thakin portrayed himself as a no-nonsense man who is clearly running the show. His lambasting of some Pheu Thai MPs is aimed at putting all factions under his thumb. Nobody else, except Thaksin, would dare to rebuke a faction like Sudarat's.
The de facto leader's message also implies that even though he is not here in person, he is monitoring every move and knows who is doing what. "Some people want me to return home. Some say they love me, but they also say don't rush home because they may lose significance,'' Thaksin said.
The one topic that Thaksin highlighted in his address was the Bt2-trillion mega-transportation project. He instructed the MPs to study the issue carefully and use it as a strategy, not merely a system to divert funds to their constituencies.
According to Thaksin, mega projects like this will bring the party both money and rewards that it will need to expand its political base. Hence, he has instructed the party to do everything possible to get the system off the ground by removing all obstacles.
In other words, this Bt2-trillion investment has become the government's core "business", with Thaksin playing the CEO's role and controlling all investments and the country's political affairs.
He also told the party - very clearly - how to proceed with charter amendments. They've been instructed to overlook voting in the third reading and amending each Article in the way he wants it altered.
For instance, he wants Article 68 to be amended so it removes the Constitution Court's authority on amending the Constitution. If this is done, the party can untangle the knot that prevents lawmakers from amending the entire charter. He also wanted Article 190 to be changed as it is seen as an obstacle that is stalling the government from ratifying treaties with foreign countries. Another Article he wants altered is Article 237 related to party dissolution.
Revamping this Article has been Thaksin's dream for a while now. In fact, he wants it so badly that he even got a bit irritated by the party's inability to make progress with the amendment and also said he was fed up with the opposition's political games.
Though Thaksin voiced his desire to return home, he tried not to coerce the MPs into pushing for an amnesty bill, saying he would "go along with whatever decision they make about the issue". However, he did not clarify whether he wanted them to stand back or go forward with the amnesty bills.
However, one thing was clear on Monday - Thaksin is consolidating his power. From issuing orders to MPs and ministers to threatening to cut down their role or cut their allowances if their performance falls short of his expectations, Thaksin showed them he was running the show.
Though it was an open secret that Thaksin was pulling the strings behind this government and Pheu Thai right from the start, he has never done it so openly and confidently. So, why the change now?
According to Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin's former legal advisor, the ex-leader's political ban has been lifted, so he has every right to give the party suggestions and guidance.