High tension in Thailand – June 2006

High tension in Thailand: June, 2006 news
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Wasant fears for life after suspected kidnap attempt - The Nation, June 30, 2006
Outspoken National Human Rights Commissioner Wasant Panich told the media yesterday he believed his life was in danger for scrutinising the case of missing lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit and investigating unidentified bodies buried in the deep South...


PM fears 'plot to throw me out' - The Nation, June 30, 2006
..."Confusion persists because charismatic people and some organisations outside of those sanctioned by the Constitution are trying to impose changes, even though they do not have any mandate to do so," Thaksin said.
In his hour-long speech, the caretaker PM portrayed himself as a defender of democratic rule and lashed out at his opponents for trying to dethrone him by undemocratic means.
"Do not confuse democracy with 'democrazy'. Everything will work out in accordance with the established rules," he said, remaining upbeat he can emerge unscathed from the political crisis...


PM uncertain when election will take place - TNA, June 29, 2006
Rational debate on FTA nearly impossible - The Nation, June 29, 2006
...Should Thailand conclude an FTA with the United States? At this time, a good answer is impossible. And such an answer is not even desirable. For perspective, clarity, and debate have not yet been brought to bear on the real costs and potential benefits that an FTA would involve. The maturity, responsibility and sophistication that speakers and listeners alike demonstrated night after night in the anti-Thaksin rallies this year have been sorely missing from discussion of the agreement. But during both the negotiation and ratification phases of any Thai-US FTA and on the part both of the government and the public, clear, cogent and serious debate is clearly possible and clearly necessary.

Thai minister downplays former Singapore premier's criticism on Thai politics - TNA, June 29, 2006
...Singapore’s former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew said in his news article released recently that the Thai political development had relatively lagged behind that of Iraq...

Six reasons to dissolve the Democrats - June 28, 2006
Many readers have asked about this... According to Komchadluek and Manager on June 28, these are reasons the Democrats are being recommended for dissolution:
1. The Democrats participated with the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to overthrow the government.
2. The Democrats asked for a royally appointed PM. (This being regarded as an attempt to violate the constitution.)
3. The Democrats did not field members for MP election in April. (They boycotted the election.)
4. The Democrats campaigned with a slogan of "vote for no vote." (Asking people to select "no vote" on the ballot.)
5. The Democrats hired the Better Life Party, Pattana Chat Thai Party and Progressive Democrat Parties to malign other parties.
6. The Democrats obstructed candidates who wanted to apply to run for MP in the Songkhla area.

Democrats added to list to 'calm' TRT nerves - Bangkok Post, June 28, 2006
Adding the Democrats to the list of political parties that the Constitution Court has been asked to dissolve is a bargaining chip to keep the ruling Thai Rak Thai party alive, analysts said yesterday. They doubted the Constitution Court would hand down a ruling to dissolve all five parties, especially the Thai Rak Thai and Democrats, because of the political crisis such a decision would spawn...
''Eventually it will be concluded that no mistakes were made. Politics sees no wrongdoers,'' Mr Suriyasai said...


STOPPAGE TIME: Another stab at Frequently Asked Questions - The Nation, June 28, 2006
...The prosecutors have been acting strangely, haven't they? On the eve of a major announcement on the election-fraud allegations against Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party, Attorney-General Pachara Yutithamdamrong visited the prime minister at Government House, purportedly to receive instructions on the deep South. And yesterday, an OAG committee concluded that along with Thai Rak Thai, the opposition Democrat Party and three small parties should also be indicted for election-law violations, punishable by party dissolution.
The onus is now on Pachara. He could forward any of the five cases or all of them to the Constitution Court in the next few days. What will he do? From Thaksin's wicked smile and the Democrats' long faces, we can safely assume all five will go to the court...
The crippled and much-maligned commission has defied all the odds, dragged the Democrats into the mud and could last much longer than it already has. But if the three remaining commissioners do stay to organise the next election, then God help our Kingdom!
...

Fiasco could drag out till 2007, if top court is slow - The Nation, June 28, 2006


Odds and ends - The Nation, June 26, 2006
* Pracharaj Party leader Snoh Thienthong speaks at a seminar on the future of Thailand’s democracy yesterday. The veteran politician said he didn’t think there would be an election on October 15 as His Majesty the King’s advice on national reconciliation had gone unheeded.

On the forum: Who is the "highly charismatic individual" behind Visanu's resignation?
So who is the individual in question? Surly not someone that is better off going unnamed?
Also, any clue about the reference to the "proxy war"? Part of me has always felt that the recent political conflict about a whole lot more than just Thaksin, but perhaps I shouldn't speculate further for the time being.
...Cabinet members close to Mr Thaksin said he was becoming tired of fighting a proxy war. He believed he was pitted against a highly charismatic individual who was behind campaigns to oust him from office.
The individual in question was believed to be behind the resignation of his top legal experts, Borwornsak Uwanno and Visanu Krue-ngarm...
The source said Mr Thaksin was putting on an act when he stepped onto a stage and sold populist policies. Instead he was ready to step aside as prime minister and take advice from "non-partisan" individuals who would mediate to resolve the political crisis, said the source...

Measuring Thai society's threshold for shame - The Star Online, June 24, 2006
The Thai public be warned: a new social disease is spreading. And it's possibly contagious...

There is work to be done, says PM - The Nation, June 26, 2006
Media misquoted him as being demoralised; TRT has 'not done anything wrong'...
Earlier:
THAKSIN AGAINST THE WALL - Demoralised? - The Nation, June 23, 2006
EC endorses fraud accusations | Wissanu set to resign | PM reluctant to quit politics for fear of asset seizure | Pojaman 'keen to leave country'

...While the EC has set October 15 as the date for the next election, it is so discredited that one Thai Rak Thai member said there was still no certainty on when a new ballot would be held. He said politicians were doing little except waiting for the outcome of court cases to clear the political deadlock...

FM 94.25 a hit with patriots - The Nation, June 26, 2006
...The first caller, Chatchai, said the media should stop reporting on politics until the end of the year.
Prayoon said: "They might die if they did that, don't you think?"
Chatchai said the media could report about His Majesty the King instead...

Fake grenades lobbed into Thai Rak Thai head office - The Nation, June 24, 2006

Election Commission says PM's party broke law - The Nation, June 22, 2006
..."The Election Commission ruled that Thai Rak Thai broke two laws governing political parties. The EC said TRT had acted against democratic rule, and that the party's actions were a threat to national security," Attapon said...


TRT likely to survive EC report - Bangkok Post, June 23, 2006
...The EC ignored the Nam panel's recommendation that Mr Thaksin be called to testify because the alleged fraud was intended for the benefit of the ruling party, rather than for individuals. The report singled out TRT deputy leader Gen Thammarak and deputy secretary-general Pongsak Raktapongpaisal as the key players in the alleged bankrolling case.
...OAG spokesman Atthapol Yaisawang said the re-submitted EC report advised that TRT has been found guilty under article 66 of the Political Party Act, but refused to delve into details.
He said an OAG panel, chaired by Deputy Attorney-General Chaikasem Nitisiri, will hold a meeting today to review the report and may be able to reach a conclusion on whether to indict the party.
An OAG source said that if the prosecution agrees on an indictment today, the case is likely to go to the Constitution Court on Monday.
The OAG will submit the EC's recommendations for the dissolution of three other small parties _ Pattana Chart Thai, Pan Din Thai and Prachatippatai Kao Na _ to the court on Monday...

Wisanu submits resignation - The Nation, June, 22, 2006
Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Kruengam has submitted resignation from the position that will become effective next month...

Earlier: Wissanu signals he is set to resign - The Nation, June 17, 2006
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam yesterday signalled that he intends to step down after the visiting foreign monarchs and royal dignitaries leave the country.
Earlier: DPM refuses that he handed a resignation letter today - Thaisnews, June 16, 2006

Questions that The Economist has to answer - The Nation, June 21, 2006
...All we've heard is it's the protesters' fault: "Thais are paying a heavy price for the opposition's dismissal of April's election result." "[Thailand] has taken a big step backwards." "Once you start allowing demonstrators who number in thousands to throw out politicians who have been elected by millions, the fabric of any democracy is bound to fray, let alone one that has existed for only 14 years and still lies under the shadow of crown and gun..."
When Thaksin and his wife were found to have stashed Bt10 billion worth of shares in his servants' accounts, this Constitution was screaming, "STOP HIM!" But whereas The Economist at that time sounded a major warning over his "insuperable conflicts of interest" and his "alarmingly undemocratic instincts", Thais forgave him, because - just as The Economist of today would have been pleased about - he had won a landslide election victory. Thais tolerated his contempt for human rights and other democratic principles and massive graft scandals for the same reason: he had been endorsed by so many of the electorate...
What if Tony Blair owned England's largest telecom firm? What if he hid some shares in his servants' stock accounts and a mysterious offshore firm for no good reason? What if those shares enabled him to evade taxes or exposed him to charges of stock manipulation? What if other British had to pay taxes for similar share transfers, but he didn't? What if parliament couldn't censure him? Questions like this go on and on where Thaksin is concerned, but the ultimate question to The Economist is: "Would you tolerate it?"...

Attorney-general sends back EC report - The Nation, June 17, 2006
...The three commissioners are bound by law to resubmit the report by June 27 with a proper recommendation or risk prosecution for negligence, Atthaphol said.
"Let's see what they do," he added.
He said the commissioners had clearly applied a double standard in submitting such reports to the OAG. Reports on small political parties believed to be involved in serious electoral fraud were submitted with recommendations by the commissioners to dissolve the parties, Atthaphol said.
Furthermore, the only evidence in the case against Thai Rak Thai submitted to the OAG was the report, whereas cases against small political parties contained additional evidence, he said.
The public is watching the commissioners very closely, and it is unlikely that they can delay the process much longer without facing serious repercussions, he said.
He warned that the commissioners could face criminal charges if they did not resubmit the report with a recommendation. "Let's see what kind of criminal offence they land themselves in," he said....

PM sues over 'demon blood sucker' smear - Bangkok Post, June 15, 2006
Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday filed a libel suit against the Democrat party, its election staff and three newspapers for typifying him as a ''blood-sucking demon'' cheating the country. Lawyer Werapat Srichaiya laid the criminal charges against Democrat election coordination centre spokesman Thepthai Senpong, Matichon's editor-publisher Suwapong Chanfungpet, Khao Sod editor Thakoon Boonpan, and Daily News editor Pracha Hetrakul...
PM files defamation suit seeking Bt800 million - The Nation, June 14, 2006
Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Wednesday filed criminal and civil lawsuits demanding Bt800 million in damages for defamation allegedly spreaded by the rival Democrat Party and three major newspapers.
Thaksin launched his litigation just hours after calling for political reconciliation based on His Majesty the King's speech calling for unity...
Based on reports published in the three newspapers, Thepthai compared Thaksin to a wandering spirit trying to get back into a body, the writ said.
It also says Thaksin was portrayed as a ghost called "Pop" feasting on intestines in an effort to tarnish his reputation by implying that he was plundering the country...


Thai crisis expected to worsen after royal jubilee - Reuters, June 10, 2006
Thailand's political crisis is expected to worsen after a truce for gala festivities for the Diamond Jubilee of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej end this week, analysts, newspapers and the opposition say...

Thai PM mulls politically popular, economically doubtful plans - AFP, June 10, 2006
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is considering a slate of proposals to bolster the sagging economy, but analysts say many of the measures are more aimed at shoring up his political base ahead of new elections...

Election Commission fighting on every front - The Nation, June 9, 2006
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has again accused the Election Commission of double standards because it had recommended that two small parties be disbanded but let the Thai Rak Thai Party off the hook...
Borwornsak caught in the hot seat - The Nation, June 8, 2006
...Likhit said if the royal decree were endorsed it would give the Election Commissioners a longer lease of life since the election law provides "protection" to the EC once a ballot has been called.
...The King has urged the judiciary to help bring an end to the political crisis. But the EC and Thai Rak Thai-led caretaker government appear aligned on one side, with the courts on the other.
An article in Matichon newspaper reported that respected people, who oppose the EC's decision on the election date, had called on Borwornsak not to introduce the royal decree for a new poll. But politicians in the Thai Rak Thai camp wanted him to speed up his work to introduce the decree to Cabinet in support of an October 15 poll. Borwornsak was caught in a power struggle, and found it very stressful...


Dispute over election decree 'just a rumour' - The Nation, June 8, 2006
Borwornsak Uwanno, the outgoing Cabinet secretary-general, yesterday dismissed as groundless speculation that he decided to resign after being pressured by the government to issue a royal decree calling a new election...

Last gasp of a desperate EC
- The Nation, June 8, 2006
...One thing is clear. The EC as a constitutionally sanctioned watchdog - whose job it should be to ensure free and fair elections and prevent corrupt politicians from entering politics in the first place - has consistently failed to serve the people, its real master, the way it was intended to. Instead, it has allowed itself to be manipulated by corrupt politicians determined to undermine the Constitution and democracy, which it is supposed to serve. The noose is tightening on the EC, which is destined for an ignominious end.
Perhaps this prolonged agony is not such a bad thing after all. Never before has corruption at the highest level been played out in public in such great detail over such an extended period of time, leaving no one in any doubt whatsoever as to who the bad guys are and how they do their evil deeds. This could be a first-class political education, if only the right lesson is learned.

TRT targeted for dissolution - The Nation, June 7, 2006
Answers to more Frequently Asked Questions - The Nation, June 7, 2006
www.taksinfanclub.com - June 7, 2006
The site has mysteriously disappeared, but can still be viewed in Google's cache (right) and here is the whois info. The Nation has an article about the site: TRT denies website link. We think the style of the site is similar to older versions of the anti-Thaksin site thaiinsider.com.
Or check out Thaksin's official site: The Knight of the Third Wave

(Source: Google)

Prinya: More than one party doomed - 'Don't be in rush' to expel commissioners - Bangkok Post, June 6, 2006
The Election Commission (EC) has enough evidence to dissolve more than one party, commissioner Prinya Nakchudtree said yesterday. He made the comment while lashing out at people who criticised the EC for being undemocratic and negligent in its handling of the April 2 general election.
''Don't rush to expel me. The sooner they expel the EC, the faster they will escape punishment. After all pieces of evidence are gathered, certain political parties must be dissolved. The evidence we have now shows more than one party will be dissolved,'' said Mr Prinya...

"Let the people speak" - June 5, 2006
A reader comments: I'm a fan of your 2Bangkok.com. It is definitely on the top of my favorite website list. Anyway, there's an interesting article in The Irrawaddy responding to how The Economist portrays political situations in Thailand. This is very interesting because I too was annoyed by The Economist the same way. Glad someone could articulate that. I just think you might like to check it out. Here's the link:

Let the People Speak - The Irrawaddy, May, 2006
...So while not wishing to engage in a dog fight with colleagues---the lowly Irrawaddy is hardly a match for The Economist---it does seem unfair to tar as undemocratic and unruly those Thais who felt sufficiently motivated to take to the streets as their democratic right to try to restore democracy.
A highly-influential journal like The Economist should perhaps think more deeply, and with more understanding, about what has actually happened in Thailand before trashing a significant sector of its population as an undemocratic mob.

Fortune teller says Oct 15 election will not happen - The Nation, June 3, 2006
A well-known fortune teller has predicted that the new election would not happen on October 15 as planned because a big "lightning" event would happen instead.
Kijja Thaweekul made the prediction on his Web site - www.mornid.com...

Election date could still be changed: Wissanu - The Nation, June 2, 2006
The Thai King's over-taxed prerogative - The Irrawaddy, June, 2006

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