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Cablegate: Thailand: The Week in Politics: March 27 - April

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002347

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV TH
SUBJECT: THAILAND: THE WEEK IN POLITICS: MARCH 27 - APRIL
1, 2005

REF: BANGKOK 2257

THAI RAK THAI'S DISSATISFIED FACTIONS SET UP "WAR ROOM"

1. (SBU) Tensions within the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party
ratcheted up when members of Wang Nam Yen, Wang Nam Yom and
Mod Dum Faction met for the first time at disgruntled Wang
Nam Yen faction leader Sanoh Thiengthong,s residence on
March 29. The group announced that it will set up a
"Creative Group for Politics," or "War Room," from which
their members will monitor the performance of TRT ministers
from other factions in the cabinet. The group plans to meet
every Tuesday to prepare their positions before the weekly
TRT party meeting. (Note: The "war room" is reportedly the
brainchild of Mr. Pramuan Ruhanaseree, TRT Party-List MP and
former Deputy Interior Minister, who is close to Sanoh. He
recently released a book strongly criticizing Prime Minister
Thaksin's exercise of "absolute power" inside the party,
which he believes could lead the party to an early breakup.
End Note) This grouping of factions apparently has coalesced
in an effort to counter what the members view as too much
personal control over TRT by Thaksin and by his favoritism to
other factions inside TRT in the awarding of cabinet posts
and other jobs. These favored factions include the Wang Bua
Ban, headed by Thaksin's sister Yaowapha Wongsawasdi and the
Bangkok faction headed by Agriculture Minister Sudarat
Keyuraphun.

INTERFACTIONAL SQUABBLES STRAIN THE TRT

2. (SBU) These recent developments reflect simmering
resentments held by Sanoh and some other faction leaders over
what they consider increasingly Thaksin's shabby treatment of
them. The last straw was the recent cabinet makeup. Three
major factions are involved in this TRT intramural
discontent. They are Sanoh's Wang Nam Yen, the Wang Nam Yom
(a powerful group of about 100 MPs led by Somsak Thepsuthin
-- present Sports Minister and former Agriculture Minister
who was replaced by Sudarat and is still smarting), and the
Suchart faction (headed by Suchart Tancharoen -- who was
supported for the Parliament House Speaker job by Sanoh and
Somsak, but had to settle for a Deputy Speaker slot, below
Thaksin's choice, Bhokin Polakul). These factions were
"awarded" a only relatively small number of cabinet posts
compared to Sudarat,s Bangkok faction and Yaowapha's Wang
Bua Ban. Observers believe that the "Creative Group for
Politics" could make things difficult for the Sudarat and
Wang Bua Ban members and ministers over coming months by
being as eager to expose scandals and corruption as the
opposition.

THAKSIN FAVORITE FIRES BACK

3. (SBU) In what looks like a response to the establishment
of the "War Room," Agriculture Minister Sudarat has thrown
some mud at Somsak, publicly alleging that when Somsak was
Minister of Agriculture, that Ministry initiated a rural
agricultural pond/well digging project that was marked by
fraudulent work orders, bribery and kickbacks. Somsak has
hotly denied the allegations, but the sight of two cabinet
ministers fighting over corruption allegations does not bode
well for TRT party unity. Members of the two factions have
subsequently come out to join the public slanging match, and
the open conflict could drag on for some time. Thaksin might
move quickly to defuse this potentially damaging rift in the
TRT. He could seek to put an end to the imbroglio by
redistributing the cabinet pie, so the factional fighting
could mean a cabinet reshuffle sooner that Thaksin had
planned.

MEANWHILE...MORE POSITIONS ARE HANDED OUT ELSEWHERE

4. (U) On March 22, the Cabinet announced the appointment
of a number of MPs and others to political posts. Some of
these include:

-- General Phanlop Pinmani (TRT List 2) Deputy Director of
the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) has been
appointed Advisor to Defense Minister Gen. Thammarak
Isarangkun Na Ayutthaya. (Note: General Phanlop order the
assault on the Krue Se Mosque in April 2004. End note.)

-- Group Captain Anudit Nakhonthap (TRT List 3) has been
appointed Secretary to Defense Minister Gen. Thammarak.

-- General Rattana Chaloemsaenyakon (TRT List 2) has been
appointed Advisor to Deputy Foreign Minister Preecha
Laohapongchana

-- Thong-lo Phonkhot (Mahasarakham TRT MP) has been appointed
Advisor to Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Interior Minister
Pol. Gen. Chidchai Vanasatidya
-- Pakon Buranapakon (Chiang Mai TRT MP) has been appointed
Secretary to DPM and Interior Minister Pol. Gen. Chidchai

SIPDIS
Vanasatidya

-- Sucharit Patchimnan, Director General of the Provincial
Administration Department, has been appointed as Permanent
Secretary of the Interior Ministry.

SIPDIS

ARVIZU

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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