The Thaksin-Soros relationship has always been something of a mystery. How close this relationship really is?
Did Yingluck and George Soros meet while Thaksin’s sister was prime minister in 2012?
This is true. In January 2012, Thailand’s Prime Minister met the controversial financier who had ruined Thailand’s economy. The private meeting took place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
On January 26th 2012, after a two-day visit to India, Yingluck Shinawatra jetted in from New Delhi to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.
She delivered a speech in a session on “Women as the Way Forward”, and hosted a Thai-sponsored “Thailand Night” extravaganza, featuring food, Muay Thai and a fashion show, for participants at the Davos forum. She sought to restore confidence in Thailand after the flood crisis and the general election in 2011. The election has handed Thailand “a bright beginning and the chance to steadily move forward”, Yingluck said. But her performance was poor. She failed to restore confidence in her government and Thailand’s economy
Yingluck found it difficult to organise bilateral meetings with key world leaders at Davos. She held talks with leaders of countries like Tanzania and Pakistan. She also gave a couple of interviews to the foreign media, struggling with the idea that she was simply a placeholder for her brother, Thaksin.
And she also met “with a number of representatives from the private sector attending the 42nd World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland”. One of them was George Soros.
By the time Yingluck landed in Davos, Soros had already shocked the forum warning that the Eurozone debt crisis could destroy the European Union.
Despite his cynical attack on baht, Soros has enjoyed a close (and lucrative) relationship with Thaksin. The Yingluck-Soros meeting in Davos confirmed Soros’s support for the Shinawatra family.
As the election day gets closer by the day, this is the time where fake news will take over social media by storm. One of the key topics which could easily swing votes would regard public debt.
There is huge debate on whether it is Prayut’s administration or Yinglucks’ who has gathered an immense public debt. Some sources are claiming that Prime Minister Prayut’s public debt is far greater, is this true?
This is not true, the Prayut government’s public debt may seem higher but as a ratio to the GDP it is less. This means the debt takes a lesser toll on the government’s capacity to spend.
Public debts are loans made by the government when they have insufficient funds for their expenditure. This does not necessarily translate to something that is negative, as every government makes loans. Aside from an financial crisis, the amount of loans taken is high when a country is planning large-scale economic expansions.
These funds are usually geared towards infrastructure development such as for new roads, various modes of transportation, irrigation and energy sources.
These mega investments will enhance a country’s capabilities while creating more jobs. Once the development goals are achieved, the Thai people would have a greater capacity in generating income and tax revenues will increase to cover the debts incurred.
This is why the size of public debt is important, because governments will always have to set aside a proportion of their annual tax revenue to cover the loans and that is an indicator of the state’s capacity in expenditure.
While the military government took over from 2014 until today in 2018, the public debt is currently at ar 41.7% of the Thailand’s GDP, or approximately 6.78 trillion baht. The public debt had increased from direct loans that were made for socioeconomic development which aims to increase Thailand’s overall competitiveness. Loans have also been made to subsidize state enterprises.
The debt to income ratio of the Prayut administration stands at 19.17% (484 billion baht). Public debt which must be repaid in foreign currencies stands at 3.86% of the total public debt at around 261 billion baht.
The Yingluck administration on the other hand which governed between August 2011 to May 2014 had their final tally of public standing at 5.53 trillion baht or at 45.91% of the GDP. Of that total, up to 3.91 trillion was government debt alone.
Debts from state enterprises which are not financial institutions stood at 1.1 trillion baht, and debt from state enterprises that are financial institutions were at 531 billion baht.
The Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) was constantly bashed for having 4 ministers who are not willing to resign from their posts after signing up to high-level positions in a political party for the next election. However, is it against the rules for them to keep their positions?
The 4 ministers are Industries Minister Uttama Savanayana who is the party leader of PPRP, Minister of Science and Technology Suvit Maesincee as deputy party leader, Minister of Commerce Sontirat Sontijirawong as secrety-general of PPRP and lastly Minister to the Office of the Prime Minister Kobsak Pootrakul who is also official spokesperson for the PPRP.
However, is it against the rules for them to keep their positions?
The truth is that their decision to remain with the current government is not against the rules nor the constitution.
Ever since the PPRP officially launched as a new party, news reporters constantly asked whether the 4 ministers would resign as a means of “political etiquette”. The 4 has also given one consistent message, that they will leave when the time is right.
Now that a majority of the political ban has been lifted as of December 11, the 4 ministers have stood firm and decided to not resign from their current posts with the NCPO while claiming that there is no law that forces them to do so.
According to the 2017 constitution, there is no restriction for ministers to continue holding positions nor is there a mandatory rule for them to resign after joining a political party.
In fact, the 2017 constitution stipulates that the cabinet must continue to manage the government until the next elected government is to officially succeed the previous.
Therefore, the 4 minsiters have acted in accordance to the new constitution.
The criticism broke out because ministers from the previous government were forced to resign from their posts in accordance to the previous constitution
Prior to the new version, if the Prime Minister resigns then a new government must be formed and the entire cabinet must be removed for a new one to replace it. A caretaker government will be formed when the house of representatives is dissolved or a government completes their term.
Yingluck Shinawatra’s situation was different from the majority of cases, as the Constitutional Court had ordered her resignation as a result of unjustly transferring secretary-general of the National Security Council Thawil Pliensri.
There are great limitations to a caretaker government. For instance, they cannot approve any projects that are connected to the next government, they cannot assign or transfer officials to posts.
As a conclusion, the 4 ministers have every right to continue their roles as ministers by constitutional law, despite registering with a political party. It is also beneficial in many regards as it does not slow down or affect the roadmaps and works that these ministries need to finish before election time.
Jatuporn switching lanes to join the Palang Pracharat Party?
Following key Pheu Thai figure Wattana Muangsook’s Facebook post which discussed the defection of several party members to rival their rival parties, a key figure under immense speculation is none other than Jatuporn Prompan. The Facebook post revealed that 16 members defected to the Palang Pracharath Party, 3 to Bhumjaithai Party and 1 member to the Pheu Chart Party.
Mr. Jatuporn who is a co-founder of the Pheu Chart Party, retaliated against Mr. Wattana’s post, saying that he is wrongly generalizing that the Pheu Chart Party is forming an allegiance with the Palang Pracharath.
So, will the Pheu Chart Party leave the grips of Thaksin and join hands with Palang Pracharat?
This is false. Despite the various incidences which seem to spark internal division amongst the Pheu Thai Party members and Mr. Jatuporn, he remains content to continue supporting Thaksin and the Pheu Thai Party.
In a Facebook post published by Mr. Jatuporn under the headline “To Wattana Muangsook, do not push allies to become enemies”, Mr. Jatuporn reiterated the importance of those who support democracy to not have jealousy or concerns amongst each other.
“In reality, I could have let this incident go, but once one man begins a rumor it will convert into a snowball effect, pushing the Pheu Chart Party to the other side although knowing that Mr. Yongyut and I support Thaksin…yet they claim we are allying with Palang Pracharat.
Mr. Jatuporn’s criticism of Mr. Wattana has stirred intense debate between the red shirts on his Facebook page, with some supporting his standing ground and some finding disdain his negative remarks toward Mr. Wattana.
On the political aspect, people are continuing to speculate whether Mr. Jatuporn will leave Thaksin’s grip as many see changes in ideology since he finished serving his prison sentence for defaming former Prime Minsiter Abhisit Vejjajiva.
During his 1 year prison sentence, Mr. Jatuporn spent a great deal of time with other political prisoners from his opposing side such as key PDRC figure Phra Bhuddha Isara (Suwit Thongprasert) and the former leader of the now-defunct yellow-shirts Sondhi Limthongkul.
While he was serving his prison sentence, Mr. Jatuporn’s lawyer also made a public statement that Mr. Jatuporn has forgiven his foes as everyone who is in prison are equals, which raises further questions to Mr. Jatuporn’s current standing ground in the up-coming elections.
Although he made peace with his foes and criticized a key Pheu Thai figure to the likes of Wattana Muangsook, Mr. Jatuporn continues to stand firm with his position as a supporter of the Pheu Thai party.
Division amongst the Pheu Thai Party and their umbrella of smaller parties continue to show strength, while following their motto of “together we lose, independently we win”.
Despite his inability to participate for seats in the up-coming election due to his prison sentence, Mr. Jatuporn is still able to benefit from other means with his loyal service and contribution to Thaksin’s goals.