PAD, Privy Council and amnesty

20 11 2011

With Thaksin Shinawatra apparently having announced that he “will not accept any benefit from the proposed royal pardon decree…”, the royal pardon story may been thought to have lost a great deal of its relevance. However, PPT thinks it still has legs for the anti-Thaksin crowd. They have seized on this as another opportunity to work towards the overturning of the July election result, and there will be continuing activism on this. In any case, no true yellow shirt would believe anything Thaksin says.

At The Nation it is reported that the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has “vowed to exploit all legal avenues to stop the government’s attempt to help ex-premier Thaksin Shinwatra [sic], brother of Prime Minister Yingluck, escape a jail term through a royal pardon.” PAD plans to rally outside the Council of State on Monday. They will also file a complaint with the National Counter Corruption Commission and Ombudsman and most strikingly, PAD is urging “the Privy Council not to advise His Majesty the King to bestow a pardon until the constitutionality of the draft legislation becomes clear.”

PAD grinning leader Chamlong Srimuang has emerged to damn red shirts who support Thaksin and with the vow that his group will continue to demonstrate “its readiness to protect the monarchy.” PPT isn’t quite sure what the threat to the monarchy is. Perhaps it is just Thaksin….

Another PAD leader Pipop Thongchai “called on the Council of State, the Office of His Majesty’s Principle Private Secretary [sic], the Privy Council and the military to take stands on the issue to prevent further political conflict.” With that lot, a political conflict is pretty much assured.

Meanwhile, red shirts in Udorn Thani, Mukdahan, Khon Kaen, Samut Prakan and Mahasarakham have rallied in support of a pardon for Thaksin.

The Bangkok Post reports that the PAD rally on Monday will last the whole day and add that it is seeking a “ruling from the Constitution Court on whether the royal pardon decree is constitutional.”

Over at the Army, The Nation reports that “General Prayuth Chan-ocha has approved the reshuffle of 221 Army colonels in a bid to consolidate his power base. Dozens of soldiers who are close to the Army chief and his colleagues from Class 12 of the Armed Forces’ Preparatory School were given key positions in various army units under reshuffle orders signed by Prayuth on Friday, sources said.”

On the same story, the Bangkok Post adds the somewhat unlikely view that the reshuffle is to “to consolidate power to prepare for the expected fallout of a proposed pardon for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” That seems unlikely as arranging a large reshuffle is not an overnight decision.

As we have observed, almost all of the anti-Thaksin elements are back in play. It promises to be an interesting few weeks ahead, especially as the yellow shirts call the Privy Council and judiciary up to bat.