The vengeance of the general

What’s next for Thamanat Prompow?

He has approximately 30 to 50 MPs in his hand, depending on who you ask, and is still Party Secretary. He can stay with the dysfunctional Palang Pracharat, form his own party, or rejoin Pheu Thai.

He can lead an immediate exodus or wait nearer to the next national election. In any case, PPP is done, murdered by the general who they made prime minister.

Or, General Prawit Wongsuwan might fire him to appease his little brother.

What’s next for General Prayut Chan-o-cha?

The 250 senators are still in the bag. Election-wise, the bet is on Chatchai Phromlert, the retiring Interior Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, who’s putting together a political party based on the powerful network of bureaucrats nationwide.

Resigned or fired?

Thamanat resigned because he knew he would be fired, a matter of saving face. General Prayut insisted on firing, a matter of vengeance and face-saving.

The failed coup to oust the general in last week’s censure debate was humiliating to his oversized feudal warlord’s ego: “must crush the enemy.”

Cold feet

There wouldn’t have been a coup without General Prawit’s blessing. Thamanat is many things, but he isn’t stupid. However, when the plot leaked, little brother came at big brother red in the face. Big brother got cold feet, leaving Thamanat out in the cold.

Thamanat should feel betrayed by General Prawit.

Why the attempted coup?

Thamanat’s dilemma: How to win the next general election?

General Prayut monopolizes all the power and ministerial portfolios at PPP’s expense. The general didn’t campaign in the last election, nor will he in the next election. It’s Thamanat’s job as party secretary to win the election. But PPP has nothing to show the people.

From a rural farm boy to a flour empire. From Sydney’s prison to Thailand’s parliament. Thamanat is a man who gets things done. PPP nearly swept last year’s local elections nationwide. How? Thamanat can handle local bureaucrats and mafiosos. He gets things done.

But the national election is a different animal. Thamanat needs to be the Interior Minister, the position of immense power to steer the next election. The Interior Minister is General Anupong Paochinda. He’s not a politician and doesn’t know how.

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