This story (also here) in The Nation by Thanong Khanthong offers the best insight I have read so far into the Coup. If true Sonthi Boonyaratglin could go down as one of the great Thai heros. Taksin had planed to use a bloody protest as pretext to declaring a state of emergency…
an intelligence report reached General Sonthi’s camp stating that there would be bloodshed on Wednesday. The People’s Alliance for Democracy had planned to hold a political rally that day at the Royal Plaza in order to force Thaksin out of politics. Had that rally taken place, there would have been clashes between the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Thaksin’s supporters and blood would have been spilt on Rajdamnoen Avenue.
Once the situation was under his complete control, Thaksin had planned to fly back yesterday in order to declare victory over anti-democratic elements in society. He had a military reshuffle list in hand that would have further consolidated his control over the military. With that accomplished, everything would have been easy. Virtually all institutions in the country would have been under his directive.
Let’s not forget it is Taksin who bought his current seat of power.
- A 1m baht bribe called “the village fund” that persuaded vilage headmen to convince those in their village to vote Taksin.
- The 40baht health care plan.
- Loans for farmers that they did not have to pay back.
He knew he could do the same thing again, but he just needed a tighter grip on power.
If Thaksin were to run in the next election, he would have won. With 12 million votes or so, he would have claimed a democratic majority and he also would have stayed on as prime minister. After that he could rewrite Thai history by turning Thailand into his own regime.
There is no reason suspect Taksin was planning on giving up power Getting rid of him may have given Thailand it’s only hope of remaining democratic.