The incredible Abhisit petition response

18 08 2009

Also available in Thai as เหลือเชื่อ กับคำตอบของอภิสิทธิ์.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is becoming a victim of his own discombobulating over the “royal pardon” petition for Thaksin Shinawatra.

In the Bangkok Post (18 August 2009: “Reviewing petition may take months, says PM”) Abhisit is reported to have said that it “would take at very the least two months to study the petition for a royal pardon for Thaksin Shinawatra before a decision could be made on what futher action to take on it…”. Just the day before submission, Abhisit stated categorically that the petition would be rejected as it did not conform to legal criteria.

Abhisit said that the checking of this petition would take a long time because of the it was “a complex issue and a large group of people had purportedly signed the petition.” Note the use of the term “purportedly.” Of course there is no questuion that 10 million signed up for the government’s anti-petition petition. Nor has there been any check on other letters written in the name of others by officials. Issues of forgery and abuse of power in, say, universities?

The premier has no credibility on this issue.

Even so, Abhisit put Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban in charge of overseeing the matter. It seems that there is not another member of the Democrat Party who has the capacity to overview any “difficult” issue for the government.

Abhisit also made the incredible claim that “the government would not obstruct the process.” He added: “I assure all parties that the government will treat this petition as other petitions,” and said “I promise that the government will not do anything to obstruct or buy time on this issue…”. PPT remains to be convinced on this. Abhisit has mangled the truth repeatedly in the past and especially on this issue that he is unbelievable.

Suthep said he favors a “panel of experts to review the petition.” Presumably he will disqualify all academics who have already claimed that the petition is illegal? Or maybe not…, especially as Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga has “said that the process will go no further if the petition failed to meet legal criteria.”

Revealingly, though, for the all the government and conservative huffing and puffing and threatening on the petition, the minister states: “I do not know at this stage whether this petition is actually seeking a royal pardon, or just filing a complaint…”.

UDD core leader Jatuporn Prompan responded that”If the government tries to scrap the petition, it will be a reason for the red-shirts to hold a major rally…”.


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