The stalemate between Thaksin and his opponents seemed to have taken a toll on the ordinary people.
A most recent Abac poll showed that interest in national political developments had dropped from 76% to 58%. A week ago, there were also reports that the political turmoil has taken its toll on “domestic” relations with increasing tensions within families and increasing rift and divide between the rural and the urban folks.
While ordinary Thais caught in the biggest political drama and debacle may be getting wary, the situation remained unclear. There are a few new developments.
Veteran politician Premsak Piayura quit the Thai Rak Thai party to be ordained as a monk and wills to remain so until the political crisis was resolved. This hints at internal conflict within the Thai Rak Thai Party. It had expected to win all party-list MP seats as the three major opposition parties are boycotting the election while smaller parties will find it tough to win support.
Additionally, the National Economic and Social Advisory Council (Nesac) is urged to ask Privy Council chairman Prem Tinsulanonda to mediate in talks between caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his opponents to ease the political turmoil. This comes amid the Democrat party’s request that diplomats, foreign press and academics help monitor the April 2 election as rampant electoral fraud is expected. Kriangsak Choroenwongsak, an executive party member, said the boycott by the Democrat, Chart Thai and Mahachon parties has made Thai Rak Thai worried that its lone candidates running in many constituencies may not win 20% of the electorate, as required by law. This means that the House of Representatives may be short of 500 MPs, the number required to select a prime minister. To avoid this, the TRT is trying to hire “small, unknown parties to contest the elections so that its candidates will not be subject to the 20% of the electorate requirement,” the Bangkok Post reported.
On the Shin Corp deal which is to be completed on Tuesday, the Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong has stated that “Temasek Holdings' purchase is a commercial decision and such regional investment is encouraged because of confidence in the Southeast Asian economies.” Nonetheless DBS is playing it safe by postponing the plan to announce the raising of its stake in Thai Military Bank to 16 per cent stake.
Perhaps most startling was the Black May broadcast showing General Suchinda Kraprayoon and his nemesis Major-General Chamlong Srimuang kneeling in front of the King. While Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), sees this as a sign that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra must go, The Nation prefers to view this as a pre-emptive act to prevent bloodshed at a planned rally outside Government House on Tuesday.
A sign that Thaksin must go, says Sondhi, The Nation, 13 March 2006
Black May evoked to avert Bloody April, The Nation, 13 March 2006
Prem will be asked to mediate, Bangkok Post, 13 March 2006
Premsak urges Thaksin to 'let go', talk to his critics, Bangkok Post, 13 March 2006
PM 'a criminal and a threat to society', The Nation, 12 March 2006
'I won't bow to illegal attempts to remove me', The Nation, 12 March 2006
Veteran Premsak quits TRT, heads for temple, Bangkok Post, 12 March 2006
Poll monitoring plea by Democrats, Bangkok Post, 12 March 2006
TRT resignation casts doubt on election process, Bangkok Post, 12 March 2006
Temasek takeover 'done by Tuesday', Bangkok Post, 12 March 2006
S'pore's DBS defers plan to raise stakes in TMB, Bangkok Post, 12 March 2006
LAND OF SIGHS, Bangkok Post, 12 March 2006
More wear black at ministry, The Nation, 12 March 2006
'Democracy doesn't mean rule of the majority is always right', The Nation, 12 March 2006