Outspoken Pheu Thai politician summoned to military base

The military has summoned an outspoken politician from the Pheu Thai Party to a military base for refusing to take part in the junta’s controversial reconciliation process.

On 26 February 2017, Watana Muangsook, an embattled Pheu Thai politician, posted on his Facebook account that a military commander of the 21st Infantry Regiment had summoned him for a discussion.

After a two-hour long discussion with Lt Gen Apirat Kongsompong the next day, he told the media that the officer mainly asked him about his opinions on national reconciliation.

During the discussion, Watana denounced the junta’s reconciliation plan, saying that true reconciliation cannot begin until the military acknowledge that they themselves are a party to the political conflict.

Reconciliation would be more attainable if people had been given opportunities to participate in the process of drafting the constitution, said Watana.

He added that a conflict free society is impossible, but peace can be ensured through a democratic system of governance based on the rule of law. Only such a system can ensure that people with different opinions coexist justly.     

“I will continue to express my political opinions….and am always ready to fight for democracy based on the principles of the rule of law,” Watana wrote on his Facebook account after the discussion.  

He told Lt Gen Apirat that he will not participate in a discussion scheduled for 8 March between Pheu Thai Party members and the junta-appointed National Reconciliation Committee, whose members are mostly military officers.

Watana has been repeatedly summoned by the regime for ‘attitude adjustment’ sessions, detention with forced lectures.

The Pheu Thai politician was among those summoned in the aftermath of the 2014 coup d’état, and was forced to sign a Memorandum of Understanding promising to steer clear of all political activities.

 Watana Muangsook