May 23, 2014

Comments to media on 20th May on the declaration of martial law

Impact of martial law?

It dampens expectations of an impending breakdown into chaotic violence but it will heighten tensions the moment the military is seen to take sides.  It has stopped the People's Democratic Reform Committee from its wandering street protests and occupations and the impending strike action by supportive state enterprise unions,  but it has also disbanded the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order which  was starting to look like the care-taker government command centre. In essence it has bled the rival sides of key resources and strategies to push competing claims of legitimacy and what was looking like the possible emergence of two entities claiming government status. So tensions are down, only because repressed.


A lot depends on whether the Senate proceeds with discussions on appointing  interim PM and government, and if this is supported by the military.  Acting Senate  President Surachai has confirmed the Senate will still seek a way out, despite caretaker PM Niwatthamrong not quitting yesterday.

Possibility of an appointed government?

If an appointed government emerges from whatever process, and it  incorporates people from the care-taker cabinet and oppositional elements, this may enable a compromise to emerge.  Such a move would recognise the care-taker government's historic mandate and also fit some calls for a government of national unity. If  an anti-Thaksin interim government is installed I expect the redshirt movement will  and try and deliver on its promised response of mass resistance.