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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           29   August  2011

Red shirts getting government positions

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Ignoring warnings of the consequences, the Pheu Thai government is expected to appoint more red shirt leaders and guards to political positions.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday said the cabinet is tipped to consider the appointments tomorrow.

The red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders in the running to take political positions include UDD guard chief Aree Krainara (secretary to Interior Minister Wannarat Channukul); Shinnawat Habunpad (adviser to Deputy Transport Minister Chatt Kuldiloke); and Yoswaris Chuklom (assistant to Deputy Interior Minister Thanit Thienthong's secretary).

Other red shirt leaders who might take political posts are UDD lawyer Karom Polthaklang, Pattaya red shirt leader Charnyuth Hengtrakul, and Rak Chiang Mai 51 group leader Phetchawat Wattanapongsirikul.

If approved by the cabinet, the group would join about 10 other key red shirts who have already been appointed political officers.

The 10 include Gen Panlop Pinmanee (adviser to the prime minister); Suchat Lainamngern (deputy secretary-general to the prime minister for political affairs); Anusorn Iamsa-at (deputy spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office); and Phaijitr Aksornnarong (political officer in the Prime Minister's Secretary-General Office).

Democrat MP for Phitsanulok Warong Dejkijwikrom said the ruling party is repaying the red shirts for their help in the election, which was inappropriate.

"They are mere rewards to UDD leaders who helped Pheu Thai during the election," he said. “That was not a good reason to give someone such a job,” he continued.

Many UDD leaders were still instigating unrest and the government should stop such behavior.

Political scientist Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said granting political positions to the UDD leaders would do more harm than good to the party.

"The appointment of red shirt leaders to political positions is certainly not based on proper performance and qualifications, but rather on a patronage system," said Mr. Somchai, director of the Policy Watch Centre of Sripatum University.

He urged Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to review the appointments, as they could create "a crisis of faith" for the ruling party.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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