Thaksin’s former political adviser Pansak Vinyaratn, or in the words of the US Embassy Thaksin’s Oracle,* was a key person behind Thaksin’s government, but since the coup his role has been uncertain. Pansak has been believed to have a hand in writing speeches for Thaksin and advising him, but there were very few (if any) news stories even quoting anonymous sources about exactly what role Pansak had. Well, this is no longer the case. He is clearly back now.
The Bangkok Post:
Pansak Winyarat, a former adviser to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has been appointed chief policy adviser to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, government deputy spokesman Anussorn Iamsa-ard said on Tuesday.
The appointment was approved by the cabinet and took effect from today.
Mr Anussorn said the PM’s chief policy adviser is responsible for giving advice and making recommendations to the prime minister regarding policies on the economy, public health, social affairs, culture, environment, foreign affairs, legal reforms for development, and administration of justice affairs.
BP: That is a very broad portfolio…
As various US cables show, Pansak is open for a fight with the establishment. Just days before the coup in September 2006, Pansak meet the US Ambassador and below are some excerpts:
1. (C) Efforts to destroy Prime Minister Thaksin represent the decrepit Thai royalist oligarchy’s desire to overthrow democracy, according to close Thaksin advisor Pansak Vinyaratn. In a September 5 meeting with the Ambassador, Pansak claimed Thaksin intended to withdraw from politics after the next election, but his opponents would continue to harass him to try to force him out from office in September. Pansak assured the Ambassador the August 24 car bomb incident represented a genuine assassination attempt. He derided the Army Commander’s recent call for negotiations with militants in southern Thailand and noted the Army was split along political lines. End Summary.
¶2. (C) In a September 5 meeting with the Ambassador, Pansak Vinyaratn, one of Thaksin’s closest advisors and political strategists, confirmed the Prime Minister’s intention to withdraw from politics in the near future. When the Ambassador mentioned Thaksin’s private remark that he would take this step after the upcoming legislative election, Pansak did not dispute the timing. However, he noted that Thaksin’s enemies — and specifically Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda — hoped for his ouster in September. Prem and his allies hoped to get rid not only of Thaksin, but also Thailand’s democratic system, Pansak asserted. The royalist oligarchy wanted to return to a prior era in which the Palace, not democratically elected politicians, would reign supreme.
7. (C) When the Ambassador asked whether Thaksin had acted wisely in dissolving the parliament in February, Pansak retorted that the decision was inconsequential. Whatever Thaksin did or did not do, his enemies would continue coming after him; unconstrained by legal or rational justifications, these opponents would find ways to attack. Tragically, while the royalists and oligarchs were undermining Thaksin, the political landscape was bereft of credible alternative leaders.
BP: There are some other interesting comments in that cable and others by Pansak. Another sign of the reassembling of the TRT government. Will Pansak also be talking to the press? He may make some interesting comments….