The gang of six

18 03 2014

In yet another of those reports where the reader is left wondering why an interviewee at the Bangkok Post has protested just a little too much, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn makes a case for the gang of six “independent” agencies and political “compromise.”

Said to be an interview about “what the independent agencies, including the Election Commission, are doing to help mend shattered national unity, and the downsides of his job,” Somchai immediately trumpets that there is “[n]o plot to attack government” by the “six independent [sic.] agencies.” Confirming that the “independent” agencies are anything but, Somchai states:

… I think the various independent agencies are just acting within the scope of their responsibilities [sic.]. In the beginning, they did not meet or set a common agenda to work together. It was a spontaneous decision to pursue the matter. The decision by the organisations to come together looks like it was planned and pre-arranged. But it wasn’t.

No timeline was discussed or fixed. For example, we didn’t talk to the National Anti-Corruption Commission over when they should issue which case rulings on what cases. No one told the ombudsman which petition it should accept for referral to any agency. The EC is organising the election and carrying out certain tasks in place of the caretaker government.

Many events occur around the same time and this convinces some people it’s all staged when, in fact, there is no connection.

Is it just a stage-managed ploy? Somchai is asked: “The country has been split for quite some time. Why did the independent [sic.] agencies wait so long to act?” (Perhaps the interviewer might have asked why the gang of six are acting outside the roles allocated to them under the military junta-tutored 2007 constitution?) The answer is breathtaking: “The heads of the agencies said they have worked on the issue for a long time. But their work was carried out covertly with efforts made to involve respected figures.”

On the perception of bias amongst the Election Commission, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman, the State Audit Commission, and the National Economic and Social Advisory Council, Somchai explains the anti-democrats are supportive of them (and he lumps in the courts as well in his response) because:

The issue here is some independent agencies are being threatened by people who hold different views. This drove many people to rise up and try to defend the agencies. What’s unfair is when the independent agencies hand a ruling that is favourable to one group of people, there is no opposition to it. But when another group loses out from the ruling, they react aggressively, giving the impression of a threat being issued. Threats on the life of NACC members or members of other agencies are unacceptable. The protesters are not providing us with security.

The issue is that these agencies have demonstrated, time and again, double standards. They do this on an almost daily basis. The Election Commission has become the anti-election commission, the NHRC only trumpets the human rights of a few, the Constitutional Court makes decisions that defy the constitution, and so on. Their “compromise” is a group of “neutral people who will broker peace talks.” That sounds a bit like “respected figures” coming together and deciding on a “Thai-style compromise.”

The government is unlikely to trust this group of biased agencies who work against them. The more radical anti-democrats, including boss Suthep Thaugsuban reject the proposed “compromise” saying:

With respect to the independent agencies, it’s not that I don’t want to cooperate but I don’t believe it would be possible to find a mediator between Yingluck’s side and ours. The reality is that Yingluck and Thaksin [Shinawatra, ousted prime minister] are desperate to hold on to power and want to maintain their grip on Thailand.

Suthep seems to prefer that the courts and “independent” agencies just proceed with the judicial coup and then deal with the political fallout. That requires the military to be prepared too.


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7 03 2016
Managing “debate” on the draft charter | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] steadfastly loyal to his masters and patrons. He has made the EC the Anti-Election Commission. In his own telling, Somchai worked with the heads of the other “independent” agencies to bring down the […]

7 03 2016
Managing “debate” on the draft charter | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] steadfastly loyal to his masters and patrons. He has made the EC the Anti-Election Commission. In his own telling, Somchai worked with the heads of the other “independent” agencies to bring down the […]




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