Fighting amnesty

11 03 2013

As PPT has pointed out previously, the royalist right has decided that the next battle with Thaksin Shinawatra and against the Yingluck government is to be on amnesty. Yes, we know that they have always opposed it, but now they see it as the looming reason for undermining the government.

Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomol has been busily sending out invitations for up to 10 or 11 political and politicized groups to come together and consider a way forward.

At The Nation, it is reported that the People’s Alliance for Democracy wants to include eight groups:

the Pheu Thai Party, the red shirts, the Democrat Party, the PAD, the people affected by the political turmoil, Nicha Hiranburana Thuwatham – wife of Colonel Romklao who was killed, the Truth for Reconciliation Committee of Thailand and the anti-government Pitak Siam group.

Immediately, it is clear that Nicha is not a “group,” but the wife of royalist “martyr,” intent on pushing an agenda to exclude lese majeste victims from any amnesty. We guess that the royalist dolts from Pitak Siam are included for the same reason. Even so, this bunch of old soldiers and coup plotters wasn’t a group formed until after the events of 2010. Perhaps this lot are included by PAD because they are allies of both PAD and the old men behind the 2006 military coup.

PAD seems to be engaged in dinosaur crowd sourcing.

In the end, Charoen has:

invited representatives from 11 groups, including the Pheu Thai Party, the Democrat Party, the Bhumjaithai Party, the armed forces, PAD, UDD and Pitak Siam. Also invited are Nicha Hiranburana Thuwatham, representing families of state officials killed on duty at political rallies; business operators affected by political violence; the defunct Truth for Reconciliation Commission; and the multi-colour group, led by Tul Sitthisomwong.

Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha demands “representatives from all the armed forces” involved. He set the tone for the combined royalist approach to amnesty: “Before granting amnesty we have to look into what the laws say what to do about wrongdoing…”.

Despite all of this compromising and inviting, PAD spokesman¬†Panthep Puapongpan declares: “I have a sense that there might be a [political] rally soon.” Remarkably, he accused the Puea Thai Party was “forcing other groups to join in.” We assume he understands that the “Democrat” Party has refused to enter any discussions.

The yellow shirts are likely to oppose anything they think or imagine “affects the status of the monarchy, or any law is passed granting amnesty to fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his group.” So amnesty for them is nothing more than an excuse for a fight. At the Bangkok Post, the “Democrat” Party believes that the monarchy is under threat from amnesty and that “Pheu Thai’s real motivation was to whitewash fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and co-leaders of the red-shirt group.” That sounds exactly like PAD.

Also at the Bangkok Post, the “so-called multi-colours,” who are just yellow shirts by another name, “will not take part in a planned discussion of a proposed new amnesty bill … because it is not the right time for it, their leader Tul Sitthisomwong said…”. For the dullard Tul, the right time is after “alleged offenders” have been convicted:

He said what should be done first was to speed up the judicial process against alleged offenders of the laws in connection with political protests. Amnesty should be considered individually after the court delivered a verdict on each one, he said.

According to another report at the Bangkok Post, “the Democrats [meaning the party, for it includes few democrats], PAD, Pitak Siam, Ms Nicha and Dr Tul – have announced they would boycott the meeting.”

Another yellow-shirt front group, the Green Politics Group, had its coordinator Suriyasai Katasila announce that the proposed meeting would “fail because it is driven by politicians with hidden agendas who have failed to gain the trust of the public.” He means the popular and elected government….

In the end, as the Post reports, a half-hearted, half-attended meeting was held to agree with a set of platitudes.


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