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Thai PM goes on the offensive as battle gets tougher

Publication Date : 22-02-2014

 

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra seems to have changed her strategy from making gentle compromises to adopting a more aggressive "an eye for an eye" model as the political battle gets tougher.

Her first salvo directed at the anti-graft body in relation to the controversial rice-pledging scheme came in the form of a Facebook comment posted on Thursday. This was after she had delivered a public address earlier.

In both the speech and the Facebook comment, she appeared to show no regrets for the failure of the project and her policy. All she did was point at the anti-government movement, saying it was using the issue in a political game to topple her administration.

"I would love to see the National Anti-Corruption Commission [NACC] launch a strict examination against everybody, without any prejudice and in accordance with the rule of law with no hidden political agenda.

"If this is not done, good projects and the credibility of the checks and balances would be destroyed," she said in her speech.

In a statement posted against the NACC - which is pressing charges against the PM for negligence of duty over the rice scheme - Yingluck said the agency was motivated by the political purpose of toppling her government.

'Double standards'

She also alleged that the NACC had only spent 21 days studying the case before deciding to press charges.

She also drew comparisons with a similar case filed against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in 2009, pointing out that the NACC had made no progress so far.

She went on to say her request to replace a member of the scrutinising committee who was clearly against her government had got no response from the agency.

"The anti-graft body should show the public that it exercises its authority fairly and constitutionally in accordance with the rule of law," her Facebook post read.

Apart from the anti-graft agency, Yingluck has also decided to put pressure on the Election Commission to speed up the completion of the election. The ruling Pheu Thai Party followed up by calling on the EC to stop dragging its feet to delay the election process.

At this point, it will be interesting to see if Yingluck's offensive ignites the sentiment of her red-shirt supporters against these two independent agencies, because, after all, she is accusing both agencies of having double standards.

In a move to strengthen her strategy further, key red-shirt leaders are hosting a gathering of more than 4,000 supporters in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima tomorrow to launch a crusade against the anti-government crowd.

The game has obviously changed.

Previously, the government tried to keep the red shirts out of the capital to avoid chaos and military intervention. Now a red-shirt leader has announced that nobody fears a coup d'etat, while democracy-loving red shirts say they will not tolerate another coup.

All we can do at this point is wait and watch.

 

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