We thought readers might find the demands of the anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban of interest. It is easy to see the influence of years of People’s Alliance for Democracy and yellow-shirted “academics” at work. Note that this is sent out as a Declaration. We add some comments in brackets:
Issued: 9 DEC 2013
Declaration 1 / 2013
People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)
It has become clearly evident that the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the ruling Pheu Thai Party, has exercised its powers under the influence and direction of Thaksin Shinawatra, an escaped and convicted criminal [Democrat Party-speak since 2008], currently in exile. This puppet government has abused its executive power, acted unlawfully, and blatantly violated the Thai Constitution [this is why the Constitutional Court's decision was so critical to the plan to overthrow the government], reinforced at every step by the Pheu Thai Party’s abuse of legislative majority in the lower and upper houses of parliament. Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, in its capacity both as the executive and through its dominance of the legislature, has distorted the principles and spirit of democracy in its acquisition and consolidation of unconstitutional power as follows:
The government and the Pheu Thai and coalition parties’ lower house representatives and senate members under its leadership, have amended the Constitution [they did not amend it; rather they passed a bill in parliament that, under the constitution should have been made into law, but was blocked by the constitutional court] in an attempt to demolish the underlying constitutional principle of checks and balances between separate branches of government [this is nonsense; the law was about the legislature and making it fully elected. The opponents don't like elections]. This attempt was undertaken by abusing the parliamentary majority in a tyrannical manner despite widespread, repeated protests from all factions of the Thai public that the government and Pheu Thai Party claim to represent [this is fabrication. The bill was debated in parliament and protests on this bill were very small. "Tyrannical" appears to refer to a normal parliamentary procedure that limits "filibustering"]. This amendment was found by the Constitution Court to violate the constitution both substantively and procedurally. Substantively, the amendment demolishes the constitutionally mandated balance between the lower and upper houses as well as that between the legislative and executive branches [this is untrue]. Procedurally, the amendment process was undertaken in an unconstitutional manner because votes were retroactively counted and the right of parliamentary representatives to debate the draft amendment were cut short. Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and lower and upper house representatives have therefore destroyed public trust by abusing their parliamentary majority in a tyrannical, undemocratic manner, unpracticed by and unheard of by civilized nations [this is a propaganda point].
Subsequently, the Constitution Court ruled that these actions undermined the rule of law and democratic principles and amounted to an attempt to obtain authority in a manner violating the Constitution. Despite its awareness that the Constitution Court’s findings bind parliament, the cabinet, courts, and all state organs, in accordance with Article 216, paragraph 5 of the Constitution. The government, through the Prime Minister, knowingly, deliberately, and urgently submitted the draft amendment for Royal approval. Furthermore, the speaker of the house of representatives, the speaker of the senate, along with the minister of the interior who is obligated to uphold domestic laws and peace — all under the influence of the Pheu Thai Party – blatantly rejected the Constitution Court’s ruling. This rejection is in and of itself a clear and intentional violation of the Constitution, and serves to simultaneously destroy the rule of law and elevate the government and its parliamentary allies above the constitution and supreme law of the land. [as we have shown time and again, this Court practices politics, not law]
The Amnesty Bill supported by Yingluck’s government and its allies is an abomination [on this, we agree, and it is gone, defeated in parliament and withdrawn as well]. The lower house of representatives, under the tyranny of the parliamentary majority [PAD-speak], urgently passed the Amnesty Bill to whitewash convicted criminals and acts of malfeasance and graft retrospectively from 2004 onwards and also to absolve the illegal acts and 2,873 murders related to the fight against drugs in southern Thailand, specifically benefitting Thaksin Shinawatra. Not only does the Amnesty Bill violate Pheu Thai’s vow to the public to limit the bill’s scope to assist politically-motivated protestors during the civil unrest of 2010, it contravenes international principles and agreements to which Thailand subscribes [not that such things ever bothered Suthep when his party was in power; it is the usual double standards], such as the the UN Convention against Corruption and the principle against granting immunity to state officials committing human rights violations, on which the UN Commissioner for Human Rights issued a warning statement [which Suthep and his lot repeatedly ignored on things like lese majeste when in power]. Much like its attempt to unlawfully amend the Constitution, the government and its parliamentary representatives’ push for the Amnesty Bill abuses public trust by exploiting its majority position, and is further evidence of the government’s dissolution of the separation of executive and legislative powers despite the Prime Minister’s repeated portrayals otherwise.
Since 2010 the government has disregarded illegal acts of violence committed by its supporters [well, they were only elected in August 2011 - fixed typo - and the courts released red shirts jailed by Abhisit and Suthep for lack of evidence; at the same time, under them, charges against PAD went nowhere and were ignored], even discriminately compensating them for their transgressions. Most recently, the government turned a blind eye to evidence of actions by law enforcement-related operatives resulting in hundreds of injuries and in some cases, deaths, of innocent and unarmed Ramkhamheang University students peacefully protesting the government on 1 December 2013 [this is PDRC's fantasy "history" of those events, still under investigation]. In addition, the government has provided monetary compensation for civilians affected by civil unrest in 2010 above and beyond that granted to soldiers, policeman and civil servants under similar circumstances. The government’s discriminatory exercise of its authority runs counter to democratic principles and plain decency.
The government, in conjunction with its tyrannical parliamentary majority PAD-speak], has acted to deeply divide Thai society into pro vs. anti-government factions [in fact, it was the military-palace coup, PAD, the Abhisit government and PDRC that has done this], and to permanently entrench such division in every manner. In addition to provoking acts of violence against government opponents previously mentioned, its own defiance of the judiciary – particularly its rejection of the Constitution Court’s rulings and jurisdiction (except those rulings beneficial to the government) – has served to encourage its supporters to threaten individuals and organs criticizing the government as well, including the justices of the Constitution Court who ruled against the constitutional amendment recently passed by parliament [we have seen no evidence of this]. The government’s hypocritical approach is deeply damaging to the rule of law in Thailand.
The systemic cronyism employed by the government is an abuse and misuse of executive authority. Corrupt, inexperienced, and incompetent officials who support the government and the Thaksin regime without question are regularly promoted to positions of power over their honest, competent peers who dare question government policies and actions. This cronyism further serves Thaksin, resulting in irreparable damage to meritocracy and good governance, taking the bureaucracy backwards towards a feudal patronage system. [it is the PAD and PDRC that covet a feudal past; the evidence of cronyism is limited and less than under the Abhisit government]
This government was involved in widespread corruption in its administrative governance. Through its populist policies, it allowed policy-led corruption [PAD-speak] to negatively affect the country’s interests and on its economy, [c]ausing damage to the country’s financial and budgeting systems. The resulting massive increase in public debt and adverse effect on the country’s credibility and decreased competitiveness. The failed “Rice Scheme”, was wrought with corruption in its process and caused over two hundred billion Baht in damages. The “Water Management Plan” will involve more policy corruptions and will put Thailand more deeply in debt. Its 2.2 trillion Baht debt scheme, voted illegally through parliament, will lead to more corrupt practices, administrative failures and compound the country and the Thai people to indebtedness [these are Democrat Party claims that seem to have no substantial evidentiary support]. These blatant corrupt policies were undertaken with impunity by this government, not in the interest of the nation, but for the benefit of Thaksin Shinawatra and his family [PAD-speak, lacking evidence].
Therefore, PDRC, comprised of Thai Citizens from all walks of life, cannot allow the political tyranny under the guise of majority rule and crony, monopolistic capitalism, collude to use parliamentary dictatorship to betray the trust of the people, destroy the balance of democratic and sovereign power, and to commit acts to assume and consolidate power contrary to democratic traditions and values [we assume they mean "Thai-style democracy"]. When a sitting government, whose responsibility is to uphold the public’s interest, betrays the trust of its people and uses its powers for the personal benefits and gains of Thaksin, his family and cronies, such a government clearly violates the social contract between the people and itself. Therefore the people have the right to reject the authority of these representatives. [as they did in the 2011 election, legally throwing out Abhisit and Suthep's tainted government; claiming a legal basis to overthrowing the elected government is bizarre]
Therefore, as Article 3 of the Thai Constitution states, “the Sovereign Power Resides with the Thai People”, we hereby declare that we, as people who aspire for justice and freedom, have come together in a show of power unprecedented in Thai history, have the duty to protect the principles of democracy and the constitution. We therefore exercise our rights to reclaim our sovereign power from the said political groups back to the Thai people. Through this People’s Reformation, we, the people have chosen to act to reform the country, eliminate the damaging effects of corruption, and ensure justice and fairness to all sectors of society.
PDRC will fully respect our sovereign obligations and continue to maintain good relations with all states and international organizations.
We ask for the cooperation of all Thais in building a future which is free, fair and peaceful for future generations to come.
It is interesting that the monarchy is completely missing, despite the symbolism of the monarchy in the demonstrations.
Update: A reader asks what the anti-government movement does when the king has already signed off on the election day. Is the lack of mention of the king a kind of rebellion now that the king is seen as ineffective for them?
Another reader points out that the War on Drugs data is the usual incorrect data on the number killed. We agree and we should have pointed this out as a matter of fact.