Looking for Mr. Right (Now): replacing General Prayut with a new brand ambassador

Today, 15 May, at 2pm, a group of former yellow-shirt PAD and whistle-blowing PDRC leaders will gather at Phayathai Plaza to request government resignation. (At least, that’s the plan.)

On his Facebook Page, Taikorn Polsuwan posted the announcement “A request for the government to make the sacrifice and resign.”

Taikorn is an Isan activist and was key in the investigation that led to the banning of Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai Party. In the Facebook announcement, joining him are other longtime anti-Thaksin Regime activists Nitithorn Lamlua, Preeda Tiasuwan, Sirichai Mai-ngham, and Pichit Chaimongkol.

Yes, the same people who cheered for General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 2014 military coup.

What does this mean?

There is an effort to remove General Prayut from power. Not just by the opposition, that one is obvious. But also by many in the elite ruling class and pro-establishment supporters. Why?

In 2019, the Cult of General Prayut was still going strong and translated into over eight million popular votes. The superman can keep the streets clear of protests, thereby allowing the economy to develop, righting the ship that has sailed astray. Never mind that his some five years of dictatorship did little to better the economy.

In the past nearly two years, the opposite proves true. On top of which, in the COVID-19 pandemic, General Prayut has proven clueless in the face of a national crisis. More protests are anticipated after the COVID-19 crisis. As such, the Cult of Superman Prayut is dwindling. Therefore, he’s no longer a viable candidate. Consequently, the pressure is on for the ruling elites to come up with a new candidate.

This has little to do with democracy and everything to do with competency. Whether one is a so-called pro-establishment Salim or a so-called pro-democracy Saam-geeb (three-hooves, referring to the three-finger salute), most immediate on the wish-list is some sort of competency in the government.

Many of the ruling elites and pro-establishment supporters know well the continuation of General Prayut in office only serves to lessen the power and prestige of the establishment. Not to mention, it’s just bad for business.

Words through the grapevine have it; there could be a national election by the year-end or early 2022. New political parties are popping up in anticipation of the new election. Talks of a non-military, pro-economy candidate abound. The establishment needs a new brand ambassador.

Nonetheless, we must not get ahead of ourselves. Members may be resigning from the Cult of Super Prayut, but the hardcore still believe. There are various groups, such as กปปส. กองทัพนกหวีด (PDRC. The Whistle Army), that still smells springtime lavender whenever General Prayut opens his mouth. True FC never dies.

In any case, the political maneuvering, both in front and from behind the curtain, is definitely intriguing. And lest we forget, the allegiance of the 250 senators is still key.

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