NCPO want to remain in power?

POLITICIANS hit back at Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday in response to his four questions for members of the public to answer before they cast their ballots.

Key figures from the country’s major political parties said they suspect General Prayut’s latest move is aimed at testing the water, as the ruling junta – the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – may want to extend its stay in power.

They called instead for the PM to make it clear on whether the next general election will be held as scheduled.

In his weekly national address on Friday night, the prime minister said Thai people should be able to answer these four questions before the country can go to the polls.

They are: 1. Do you think the next election will get us a government with good governance? 2. If that is not the case, what will you do? 3. Elections are an integral part of democracy but are elections alone with no regard for the country’s future and others right or wrong? 4. Do you think bad politicians should be given a chance to come back, and if conflict re-emerges, who will solve it and by what means?

Prayut, who also heads the NCPO, said on Friday that although elections were an important part of democracy, elections alone do not represent a fully-fledged democracy.

The PM added that he did not want to see democracy fail in Thailand but would rather like the Kingdom to be democratic with a government that practises good governance and is capable of leading the country towards sustainable prosperity and stability.

He went on to say that he wanted to cultivate the good values of democracy in the mindset of the Thai people, in order to help set a good precedent for the country.

Phumthan Wechayachai, secretary general of Pheu Thai, the former ruling party, said yesterday General Prayut did not seem to believe in voters’ judgement or ability to select a good government to rule the country.

The politician said the problem with the country’s governance system was caused by weak check-and-balance mechanisms.

He also asked members of the public whether it was desirable for the country to continue without an election.

“With no election, people miss an opportunity to choose what is good policy for solving their problems and taking care of their lives,” Phumthan said.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard called yesterday on Gen Prayut to make his political future clear publicly – whether he will contest the next election, form a new political party, or rely on a special means to regain power.

He asked if the post-coup government and its unelected assemblies had better |governance than an elected administration.

Democrat Party politician Watchara Petthong also asked the junta head to “tell the public straightforwardly” if there will be a poll as required by the new Constitution.

“Why did the prime minister have to ask people? The Constitution sets all the necessary details,” Watchara said. “I understand that the PM’s move was aimed at sounding out the public and benefiting someone. Is it part of an attempt to stay on in power?”

Chart Thai Pattana Party key figure Nikorn Jamnong said yesterday he didn’t think the four questions posed by the prime minister would bring any benefit to the government. It would stir political tension instead, he said.

The veteran politician said General Prayut and the NCPO could be viewed as attempting to stay on in power.

“You can get the clearest answers to those questions from election results,” Nikorn said.

Meanwhile, Interior Ministry permanent secretary Grisada Boonrach issued an urgent instruction yesterday for provincial governors and district chiefs all over the country to gather comments from people in their areas regarding the PM’s four questions.

(Source:The Nation, Thailand)


By Juninho