Thammanat Prompao, the Deputy Agricultural Minister caught smuggling drugs in Australia, is now the third most powerful man in the government.
He was ‘elected,’ on Friday, to become Palang Pracharath party secretary. That means he is second only to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan within the party in terms of prestige and power and third in the government behind Prawit and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.
It speaks to Thailand’s wonderful society of forgiveness and rehabilitation that a convicted and jailed drug smuggler could rise to such ranks.
More seriously, it speaks to a political culture of impunity and indignity.
The move by the ruling party shows that the government no longer cares what you think. It no longer gives a **** whether or not this move makes it look bad or not.
Finally, the government understands that their base will always support them fueled by the hysteria that the opposition are anti-monarchists and communists. So the government thinks it can do anything and get away with it.
It can screw up the Covid-19 pandemic and their base will still support them. Appoint criminals to powerful positions and the base will still support them. Usurp democracy, piss on the democratic system, corrupt the judiciary, and they will be met with cheers from their base.
To the rest of the living, breathing, and thinking Thais, this is a slap in the face. It is a big middle finger in our collective direction. That no matter how much we hate them, or oppose them, there is nothing they can do because the system that they installed has guaranteed their perpetual rule.
As Thammanat said when he was given the party secretary chair, he thinks the PPRP can gain even more seats in the next election.
He is not wrong.
Given the money and arsenal likely to be at his disposal, not to mention his behind the scenes connections, the PPRP will buy more MPs than ever before.
Let us not forget that they already have a hand-picked, unelected senate at their beck and call.
This is the PPRP’s world now and we’re just living in it.