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Military top brass transfers imply the future of Thai politics
Last updated: 2 เมษายน 2557 | 00:25
Thai Tribune International News Agency(TTIN)News Desk Daily ReportApril 2, 2014 ______________________________________________________________________________ Share: The midyear military reshuffle may be a critical point leading to the political end game.

While the transfers of Rear Adm Winai Klom-in and Lt Gen Walit Rojanaphakdee are put in the limelight as controversial, the transfers within the army may send ripples into the political arena. Interim PM Yingluck Shinawatra had been accommodating in allowing the Army a relatively free reign in selecting key personnel to be assigned into critical positions. On this list is Maj Gen Apirat Kongsompong, commander of the 15th Military Circle in Phetchaburi province, who has been appointed the commander of the 1st Division, King's Guards, which commands 56 companies of soldiers in Bangkok. This division is a key military presence that can bring a military coup to take over the country.

Maj Gen Apirat is famed for his role in guarding Thaicom and was alleged to pull out a handgun to shoot at the Red Shirts. Another appointment that appears not too favorable to the government is Lt Gen Kampanart Rooddit who will succeed Lt Gen Walit as the commander of the 1st Corps. Lt Gen Walit is another person that the Red Shirts certainly label as siding with their opponent.

From a conspiracy standpoint these two men are highly loyal to the Army chief, Prayuth Chan-ocha and would stand by him. Although there is always denial from the Army chief about a coup, there is still a possibility he will be appointed as neutral PM. These two army top brass will certainly back him up with the necessary military support.
However, the army is not the only unit with a force to contend and shape Thailand's politics. The appointment of Air Chief Marshal Sukhumpol Suwannatat's brother in a key position in charge of the airforce strike unit is a clue that the government side will respond with a military force of their own.

Tomorrow the Constitution Court will announce whether it will accept for consideration the petition seeking a ruling on the unconstitutional transfer of National Security Chief, Thawil Pliensri. The petition by the senators explained that since the interim PM violated sections 180, 182(7), 266(2) and (3) and 268 of the constitution in illegally signing the transfer of Thawil for her own interests and that of her accomplices.

If the court accepts the case, the Interim PM and the cabinet immediately must cease their duties. In effect create a so called vacuum which will require the invocation of the Section 7 of the Constitution, calling for a neutral government.

This so-called coup by the court or independent agencies certainly will not sit well with the Red Shirts, who have set the date for their mass rally on April 5, in anticipation of the court's decision. The People's Democratic Reform Committee too set a meeting date on the same day.

The Red Shirts under Jatuporn Promphan will be holding a rally at Aksa Road just outside of Bangkok, while the PDRC will be in Lumpini Park.

Chalerm Yoobumroong, Center for the Administration for Peace and Order(CAPO) announced that he would like his fans to join the rally, a move that many question because as chief of security he should be promoting peaceful dialogue not fanning the flames of the dispute.

Although security personnel such as Paradorn Pattanathabut, former NSC chief, said that any clashes were unlikely the situation is highly volatile. Tomorrow the Armed Forces, supreme commander, Tanasak Patimapragorn, will invite the military commanders for a discussion of the situation. There are concerns that this political deadlock can't just keep on going because it is damaging the country.

Tomorrow will be an important day. The decision of the Constitution Court will set into play the events that will lead to the end of this political gridlock. Whether or not civil unrest and violence will sweep through the streets of Bangkok remains to be seen.

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First posted: 1 เมษายน 2557 | 15:39