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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BANGKOK6170 2007-12-17 10:23:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

LEADER OF ANTI-THAKSIN CAMP EQUALLY SCATHING ABOUT

Tags:   KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL TH 
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RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 006170 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/17/2017
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PHUM PREL TH
SUBJECT: LEADER OF ANTI-THAKSIN CAMP EQUALLY SCATHING ABOUT
COUPMAKERS AS ELECTION APPROACHES

REF: A. BANGKOK 6069


B. BANGKOK 6159

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary. In a December 14 meeting with the Ambassador,
staunch anti-Thaksin NLA member Prasong Soonsiri said that
the Thai election will likely result in a dilemma for the
military because the pro-Thaksin PPP party will be in
position to form the next government. On the other hand, if
PPP were frozen out of government despite getting the most
votes, its supporters might create trouble. Prasong
criticized PM Surayud and Deputy PM Sonthi for ineffectively
navigating Thailand through the post-coup environment. He
indicated that Sonthi had likely thrown some support to the
Motherland Party, and had planned to skim defense procurement
funds to do so. End Summary.

ELECTION TO LEAD TO QUAGMIRE


--------------------------





2. (C) In a December 14 meeting, National Legislative
Assembly member and strident anti-Thaksin agitator Prasong
Soonsiri told the Ambassador that there would be no viable
outcome to the December 23 election. If the People's Power
Party (PPP) won a plurality, as predicted by polls, but was
unable to form a government due to other parties banding
together, PPP supporters would cause unrest, Prasong said.
Conversely, the military would have a difficult time
accepting a PPP government if the party succeeded in forming
the next government.



3. (C) Prasong severely criticized the post-coup actions of
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and Deputy Prime Minister
Sonthi Boonyaratglin. Sonthi knew how to overthrow a
government, but had not demonstrated any sense of the
necessary actions to follow up, Prasong said. Sonthi should
have made a concerted effort to explain the grounds for the
coup in order to convince Thais of the rationale for his
actions. As for Surayud, Prasong said the PM should have
more earnestly investigated corruption committed by Thaksin.
In addition, the RTG's efforts on laws such as the Foreign
Business Act (FBA), the Internal Security Act (ISA) and
compulsory licensing were misguided, Prasong said. Finally,
with the Thai general election approaching, Sonthi and
Surayud should have been much more aggressive in persuading
Thais of the need to elect non-PPP candidates.

MATCHIMA LEADER NO POLITICIAN


--------------------------





4. (C) The Ambassador raised the plight of Matchima
Thippathai Party leader Prachai Leophairatana whose recent
legal troubles had compounded his troubles on entry into
politics (Ref A). Prasong said controversies within the
Matchima party illustrated that Prachai had no political
skills. Prachai's failed attempt to purchase his way into
political power provided a striking contrast to Thaksin, a
businessman who had successfully entered the political arena.
Prachai had played a useful role at the beginning of the
anti-Thaksin movement, but after his legal difficulties, he
was now an insignificant player in the anti-Thaksin movement,
Prasong said.

SONTHI BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MOTHERLAND PARTY?


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (C) The Ambassador asked Prasong for his assessment of who
had financially supported the Motherland Party. (Note: Many
contacts have indicated that the Motherland Party received
support from someone with ties to the military. End note.)
Prasong said that several months ago Sonthi had come to him
and said that he was considering supporting Kajit Habananda's
Rak Chat Party. Sonthi determined that he would need about 2
billion baht (usd 60 million) to build the party up. The
Royal Thai Army then negotiated the purchase of armored
personnel carriers (APC) from Ukraine, with the deal designed
to allow Sonthi to skim 2 billion baht of the inflated 4
billion baht pricetag. The One-Two-Go plane crash in Phuket
on September 16, 2007, had changed these calculations,

BANGKOK 00006170 002 OF 002


however, because Kajit was CEO of the airline. Prasong
admitted that he had no evidence, but he believed that it was
likely Sonthi had decided to support the Motherland Party
instead. (Note: According to our sources, this APC sale was
put on hold by the Defense minister, to be decided by the new
government. This does not then appear to be the source of
Motherland's unexpectedly large war chest. End note).

THAKSIN VCD BRILLIANT, ILLEGAL


--------------------------





6. (C) The Ambassador also raised the recent distribution of
a video compact disc in which Thaksin addressed the political
environment in Thailand (Ref B.) Prasong said disc was
illegal but a brilliant political ploy. Thaksin had
highlighted a painful truth; that the current government was
unable to address the hardships faced by Thai people. This
reality underscored Prasong's belief that the current
government should not meddle with laws such as the FBA or the
ISA, rather it should focus on the preparing the Thai public
for the election.

COMMENT


--------------------------





7. (C) Like many of those who initially supported the coup,
Prasong is now disillusioned with Sonthi and Surayud. We are
inclined to share his concerns about the post-election
period: whoever wins is going to face very serious challenges
in dealing with the losers.
BOYCE