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News Analysis: Thai military expresses full support for Feb. 2 polls

English.news.cn   2013-12-16 15:23:51            

By Surasak Tumcharoen

BANGKOK, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- The powerful Thai military has announced its unequivocal support for the February 2 snap parliamentary elections called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra amid threats of the political opposition to boycott it.

"The election will certainly be held under democratic rule as scheduled for February 2. On our part, the military is strictly obliged to do our duties as well as respect and follow the rule of law," Army supreme commander Gen. Thanasak Patimapakorn told participants in a seminar held at the headquarters of the Thai Armed Forces.

The military is hopeful that the February 2 electoral exercise will not only be fair and clean but will also have a maximum voter turnout, even bigger than the 75 percent turnout in the last election.

While Gen. Thanasak has expressed concerns that anti-government protesters might discourage voters from going to the polls, he believed that majority of the Thai voters will troop to the polling stations to exercise their sacred right under a democratic rule.

Former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban has earlier refused to heed the call for elections. He insisted that Yingluck should resign and that an unelected government council should be created even calling on the military to unseat Yingluck.

But the military top brass have expressed solid support for the nationwide election with or without the participation of the former deputy premier and his followers. The military leaders also suggested that a "central committee" consisting of independent military officers and civilians be set up to help the Election Commission in conducting the nationwide polls.

The firm support of the military in the upcoming polls has apparently diffused the prolonged political crisis in the country.

One analyst said that the calling of a snap election is a masterstroke by the Yingluck government and has pulled the rug from under Suthep and the other bigwigs of the Democrat Party and the anti-government protesters under the umbrella of the People's Democratic Reform Committee.

The reason why the opposition leaders have strongly opposed the holding of the polls is that they know that the ruling Pheu Thai ( For Thais) Party headed by Yingluck will win again, one analyst said.

The protest leaders were banking on the military to back them up in their campaign to once and for all "eradicate" Thaksin's rule in Thailand. They have consistently said that exiled former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra is still actually running the country through his sister Yingluck.

Army chief Gen. Prayudh Chan-ocha had refused to take sides dousing cold water on Suthep's call for the military to press Yingluck into relinquishing her caretaker government and replace her with an unelected prime minister.

The army chief has assured the nation that the military will remain neutral and will not get involved in the political conflict.

"We already learned lessons from a previous coup and we do not want to repeat it. There's not going to be any more coup to cope with political conflict," said navy chief Admiral Narong Pipatanasai.

Suthep's demands for the setting up of a "people's council" and as ubsequent naming of an unelected premier were tantamount to a coup d'etat and an affront to the country's democratic rule, said Thammasat University political scientist Prachak Kongkirati.

"No such thing as the protesters' calls for an unelected head of government or any unelected body should stand in the way of the upcoming election," he said. Yingluck has said that under the constitution she is mandated to form a caretaker government to govern the country until a new government is elected.

As expected she is seeking re-election under the same Pheu ThaiParty that has propelled her and her brother to victory in past elections.

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Video >>> Thai military vows to stay neutral through crisis

Thai military leaders back Feb. 2 election

BANGKOK, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Thai military leaders on Saturday expressed solid support for an upcoming general election.

Following a seminar designed to gather public views on the country's prolonged political conflict, army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, navy chief Adm. Narong Pipatanasai, air force chief ACM Prajin Juntong and supreme commander Gen Tanasak Patimapakorn resolved to endorse the nationwide election, scheduled for Feb. 2, following last week's dissolution of parliament by acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra. Full story

Thai troops abide by rules amid political conflict: supreme commander

BANGKOK, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Thai military leaders on Saturday expressed solid support for an upcoming general election.

Following a seminar designed to gather public views on the country's prolonged political conflict, army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, navy chief Adm. Narong Pipatanasai, air force chief ACM Prajin Juntong and supreme commander Gen Tanasak Patimapakorn resolved to endorse the nationwide election, scheduled for Feb. 2, following last week's dissolution of parliament by acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra. Full story

Thai protester representatives to attend gov't reform forum

BANGKOK, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Three will represent Thailand's anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to attend a government-held forum on Sunday, one of the three representatives Suriyasai Katasila said on Friday.

The political reform forum, proposed by caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday, will invite about 100 representatives of the public and private sectors, permanent secretary for the Prime Minister's Office Tongthong Chantharangsu said. Full story

Editor: Yang Yi
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