Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Abhisit Vejjajiva is a slippery opportunist eel with a poisonous bite.
Over the constitutional referendum Abhisit said he opposed the draft charter. He said it did not go far enough in tackling corruption. That was just a code for wanting a more authoritarian constitution. He was positioning himself to look good from both sides, aiming to be on the winning side, which ever it was. He also revealed his pro-dictatorship leanings by saying that if the referendum failed Generalissimo Prayut should sit at the head of the table and draft a new charter.
Abhist and his fellow “Democrat Party” politician Sutep Tuaksuban have been playing a game of “good cop – bad cop” since their party wrecked the February 2014 elections. They were both part of the whistle-blowing middle-class mobsters who took over the streets and government buildings. While Sutep’s behaviour was more like a common gangster, Abhisit kept his distance, cultivatimg his upper-class English Gentleman image. He stayed away from any confrontations on the streets.
Sutep is head of a local family patronage network of mafia-style politicians in the south. Abhisit comes from a rich Bangkok family that sent him to study at Eton and Oxford. But these two guys share the same political goals of trying to come to power in an old-style elitist political process of using patronage and the influence of the military.
In the recent referendum discussions Sutep came out clearly in support of the military’s constitution while Abhist tried to take more discreet stance. But this was just the “good cop – bad cop” act.
They both hate Taksin and all that he stood for in terms of building support among poor working people. Abhisit was a long-time critic of the universal health care system. He and his former finance minister, Korn Chatikavanij, are extreme neo-liberals who believe that the government should not provide free health care to the public.
Abhisit, like former Democrat Party leader Chuan Leekpai, was always careful to claim that he did not support military coups, while doing absolutely nothing to oppose them. The Democrat Party has benefited from the end of military rule in the 1970s and 1990s while abstaining from the struggles to bring about such ends.
Abhisit’s supposed opposition to military coups never stopped him from working hand in glove with the military.
After the 2006 coup and the subsequent election victory of Taksin’s party, Sutep and Abhisit went along with the judicial coup which destroyed the elected government while yellow-shirted mobs tried to shut down the country. The military under Generals Prayut and Anupong then organised a new military sponsored government led by the Democrat Party. This was despite the fact that the Democrat Party has never won an overall majority in any election. Abhisit became Prime Minister.
Of course, like Taksin, Abhisit and Sutep were not against the use of violence.
Taksin murdered people in the southern Malay Muslim provinces and small scale drug dealers in his so-called war on drugs.
When Abhisit and Sutep’s government was faced with mass Red Shirt pro-democracy demonstrators, who called for fresh clean elections, they did not hesitate to work with the generals to gun down unarmed civilians in the streets. Abhisit and Sutep’s attitude to this cold-blooded murder was to suggest that “unfortunately some people died”. Before that Abhisit had masqueraded as an “expert in democracy” to give a talk at St John’s College, Oxford, in 2009, where he had previously studied politics.
Abhisit and the Democrat Party are just waiting for future elections so that they can once again be part of a civilian government, irrespective of whether the elections are democratic or not. The man is a contemptible and violent opportunist.