RA’s Thailand News Blast – July 1, 2012
THIS WEEK: Jatuporn vows to fight court petition; constitution law decision to clarify political situation; Suthep comes under fire over Thaksin allegations; government to decide on reconciliation acts next week; pressure on cabinet to approve NASA plan; generals deny planned coup; Pheu Thai / Democrat water-fight; Wat Pratum temple deaths.
Red Shirt co-leader Jatuporn Prompan says the constitutional court judges had no power to file a petition against him that demands his bail be revoked, and says he will file a police report against the action. Criminal court judge Tawee says the court already accepted the petition and is now scheduled to investigate him on July 23, adding that it could be argued that the constitutional court has no power to file the petition, but that Jatuporn’s recent behaviour on television may be considered a violation of bail. Parliament speaker, Wattana, says a legal team is gathering evidence to show that constitutional amendment is not aimed at overthrowing the King’s role as the head of state. Some, such as Former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, insist on the contrary. A political science lecturer at Chulalongkorn University says a decision on constitution law will decide Yingluck’s fate as Prime Minister, and suggests that says that any ruling that the amendment violates constitution law could lead to civil war or a military coup. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Nuttawut, says we will be able to see the political future more clearly by the beginning of July after the constitutional court hands down its verdict on constitution law. The driver of a constitutional court judge says his boss has been receiving death threats by telephone.
Democract MP Suthep variously came under fire earlier this week in the wake of his claims that Thaksin Shinawatra sent 3 people to invite him to join the cabinet. Both Thaksin’s lawyer, and Nuttawut, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, accused Suthep of lying. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra laughed off allegations of such an invitation. Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm urged Suthep to reveal his sources. A Pheu Thai spokesperson said that if Suthep couldn’t swear an oath in front of the Emerald Buddha statue that he was invited to join the cabinet, he must be lying. Korkaew, the leader of the Red Shirts, says the story was designed to create insecurity amongst the smaller parties. Democrat Abhisit has defended Suthep. Separately, Suthep says that the reconciliation act proposed by Yingluck’s government is just a cover, and that there can be no reconciliation without respect for the law. Coalition MP Udomdetch says that the government will decide next week on whether or not to withdraw the review of reconciliation acts from the parliamentary discussion. Opposition chairman Chulin supports the idea to withdraw the reconciliation acts from the parliamentary discussion, warning that it could lead to conflicts.
Foreign Minister Surapong says the U.S. might abandon NASA’s plan to use Thailand’s U-Tapao airport if the cabinet doesn’t approve the project next week. A Dusit poll noted that 85% of respondents would be unhappy if Pheu Thai extended an invitation to the Democrats to join the government. Both Army General Prayuth and Deputy General Daopong have denied Red Shirt allegations that the latter has been planning a coup. A group of Red Shirt MPs reportedly end up in a water-fight with Democrat supporters at a rally organised to picket a speech by the Democrat leader last week, earning a sharp rebuke from Chavanon. Lieutenant General Udondetch says that the army did the right thing, despite allegations that 6 people were shot and killed by soldiers at Wat Pratum temple. Prayuth says that it is up to the court to decide between right and wrong on the matter.
PHOTO: Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra wears a surgical mask during the 41th Destruction of Confiscated Narcotics ceremony in Ayutthaya province, nearly 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok, June 29, 2012. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang