Thailand: PAD leader claims common interests with Yellow-Shirts, blames military for assassination attempt

Updated On: May 04, 2009

The leader of Thailand's "yellow shirts"- the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), Sondhi Limthongkul, said he believed the assassination attempt on him was masterminded by "certain military officers".

The assassination attempt was a new turn in Thailand’s contentious politics, where the PAD was widely believed to have the support of the military.

"What we may be seeing now is a realignment of alliances," says Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

"Some very powerful people supported Mr. Sondhi in the past, but now with Mr. Thaksin out of the picture he may have outlived his usefulness."

If Sondhi’s claim that elements in the army were behind the assassination attempt is true, it could show that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is not in full control of Thailand. It might also show that some influential members of the armed forces, a traditionally powerful political player in Thai politics, could be jockeying for a greater say in how the nation is governed.

Sondhi told journalists: The nature of the assault was intended to send a “signal to all sides, including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva”.

If indeed the military is looking to remove troublesome elements from the country’s traditionally elite political circles, it may have unwittingly united the two unlikely protest movements against a common adversary.

Now, Mr. Sondhi has said that Mr. Thaksin's supporters, or the "red-shirts," as they are known, and his own yellow-clad allies in the People's Alliance for Democracy are both pushing for political change in Thailand.

"The yellows and the reds are seeking something very similar, which is change. The only difference is that once we have achieved that change is how to go about creating a new politics," or a more effective way to run the country, Mr. Sondhi said Sunday.

Mr. Sondhi and the PAD are demanding greater accountability and the end of corruption and money-based politics, while the red shirts seek fresh parliamentary elections and want the army and Thailand's courts to stop interfering in the country's democracy.


The Straits Times, 4 May 2009, 'Mafia' officers involved , http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_372...

China View, Assassination masterminded by "influential figures": survived PAD leader , 3 May 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-05/03/content_11304351.htm

The Wall Street Journal, Thailand's Sondhi Says Military Men Were Responsible for Attack 
, 3 May 2009, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124136531468180833.html

Reuters, Thai "Yellow shirts" say no protests after Sondhi shooting
, 3 May 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/newsMaps/idUSTRE54213Z20090503

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