Thaksin pitches ‘all-out’ fight

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..the public should use their judgement in deciding whether Thaksin’s remarks were designed to help himself or the public. “I don’t want to see more people fall victim to Thaksin as it will do more harm than good to the country,” analysts say.

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s decision to step up his attacks on the government and privy councillors underlines his intention to fight an all-out battle against his political enemies, analysts say.

Sombat Thamrongthanyawong of the National Institute of Development Administration yesterday said Thaksin evidently believed he had nothing to lose in his campaign to return to power.

His message in phone-ins to supporters showed he was happy to fight back against his enemies in the hope he could discredit the government, Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda and privy councillor Surayud Chulanont.

He probably hopes his attacks will sway undecided people to join the anti-government rally in Bangkok, Mr Sombat said.

The former prime minister on Friday accused Gen Prem of meddling in politics. He also claimed Gen Surayud had played a role in the 2006 military coup which put an end to his premiership.

Gen Surayud was picked to lead the coup-appointed government.

On Saturday, Thaksin urged his supporters across the country to stage rallies to “bring back democracy”.

Gen Prem’s close aides and Gen Surayud denied the accusations.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban hit back at Thaksin yesterday, saying his real motive was to escape jail, reclaim his frozen assets and see his subordinates rise again to power.

Thaksin was sentenced to two years in jail in October for abusing his power in the Ratchadaphisek land purchase by his then wife, Khunying Potjaman. The verdict was handed down by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday warned Thaksin against dragging Gen Prem and Gen Surayud into political quarrels for “his own interests”.

The two were not involved in plotting the coup to overthrow him or help the Democrat party come to power, he said.

Mr Abhisit also criticised Thaksin’s attack on the government’s borrowing plans and budget deficit policies to stimulate spending and economic growth, saying Thaksin was trying to distort the facts.

“Those who study basic economics know it’s the right time to carry out these policies,” the prime minister said.

Borrowing and more state spending are needed during periods of economic downturn, or the government would have nothing to protect troubled farmers and the unemployed, he said.

Mr Abhisit said the government would keep an eye on Thaksin’s speeches and take legal action if his references to “other institutions” violate the law.

Thaksin was supposed to talk to his supporters at Government House yesterday but decided to cancel the videolink to pay his last respects to his eldest sister Yaowaluck who was cremated after she died last Sunday of heart failure.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship yesterday continued its rally at the prime minister’s office with more than 10,000 demonstrators.

Mr Sombat said the public should use their judgement in deciding whether Thaksin’s remarks were designed to help himself or the public. “I don’t want to see more people fall victim to Thaksin as it will do more harm than good to the country,” he said.

Olarn Thinbangtieo, an analyst at Burapha University in Chon Buri, was concerned that people supporting Thaksin would be used as a bargaining chip to pressure the government.

Coordinator of the People’s Alliance for Democracy Suriyasai Katasila said the group might need to consider whether it would revive its protest role if Thaksin and the UDD was found to offend the highly-placed institution.

Supporters of Gen Prem in Songkhla led by Wirat Tongbaipet called on the government to take action against Thaksin and the UDD for attacking the privy council president. If it failed to do so, the group would “respond by itself in all possible ways”. Songkhla is the hometown of Gen Prem.

By: ANUCHA CHAROENPO , Bangkok Post

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