Thaksin on amnesty

12 03 2013

While The Nation considers that ruling “[c]oalition whips resolved yesterday [Monday] to put an amnesty bill – seen as being pushed by the red shirts – on the back burner, with the government expected to drag its feet on the matter,” at the Bangkok Post a different story emerges. This story has Thaksin Shinawatra Skypeing into a meeting of a Puea Thai Party committee and reportedly having some interesting comments on amnesty.

Thaksin on the phoneThe Post claims that Puea Thai sources tell them that “Thaksin said the government and Pheu Thai had made too many compromises with their opponents, including the military and ammart (elites), who refused to reconcile with the ruling party.” Thaksin apparently believes that this has “led to a rift between the party and some factions of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)…”.

The source claims that Thaksin has demanded that “the Pheu Thai Party … push hard for an amnesty law to prove to red-shirt demonstrators affected by past political events that the party is not ignoring them and to maintain their support.” At the same time, he reportedly recognized that the party needed to be “careful in moving toward an amnesty to prevent any perception emerging that the push is aimed at helping him and UDD protest leaders.” On his own case, he reportedly stated: “Don’t be worried about whether I can return home. If our MPs want to push for amnesty, just do it. What I want to know is how united we are…”.

PPT doesn’t know how to interpret one other reported cryptic comment: “Someone wants me to return while someone who says they love me doesn’t in fact want me to return because of fears that they will become less important…”.

The comments Thaksin makes on amnesty could be Thaksin PR or they may reflect a sober reflection on the gap that is opening up in red shirt ranks. Thaksin knows that red shirt support is critical for the government, especially in the north, northeast and in the outskirts of the capital.

The Nation, perhaps having read the Post, followed-up with a politicized account of Thaksin and Skye [sic.] focusing on Thaksin as “the top boss,” and ridiculing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. This report emphasizes not amnesty but constitutional reform, another panic button issue for right-wing monarchists. In this account, Thaksin reportedly urged “the party to push for charter amendment, especially the provisions related to party dissolution, and also table the amnesty bills.”



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