Government MPs keep adding fuel to the fire

THE ruling People’s Power Party seems bent on adding fuel to the political flames – and government MPs don’t seem to care whether their moves will plunge the country further into an unfathomable abyss.

A group of PPP members has launched a move to resurrect and restore the 111 banned ex-members of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party.

Another group says it plans to collect more than 10,000 signatures from the public to seek an amnesty for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

And, believe it or not, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has said he knows nothing about these thinly veiled attempts to revive the old power clique on a clean slate – as if the ex-premier and his Thai Rak Thai executives had done nothing wrong at all.

Strange but true, Somchai, who is also the PPP leader, not only feigns ignorance, he also has done nothing to put the brakes on his party members’ blatant move to subvert the sanctity of constitutional clauses to punish politicians who see nothing wrong with breaking the electoral law and the conflict-of-interest legislation.

The “super plot” to circumvent the law began soon after Samak Sundaravej became prime minister. He first engineered the scheme to have a few clauses in the Constitution amended – with one ultimate goal – to clear Thaksin and Thai Rak Thai of all their legal obstacles.

The PPP was confident that its majority in the House could ram through any piece of legislation. But opposition soon arose and the move created such a huge political maelstrom that Samak and his party were forced to beat a retreat.

But the plan was never abandoned. They were only waiting for the right time to strike again. When Somchai Wongsawat took over from Samak, his initial soft approach gave the lie to his real intention. He might have devised a more subtle plan but he couldn’t hide the overall plot.

By proposing to set up a new constitutional drafting committee that will comprise members picked through a national selection process, the prime minister thinks he can eventually achieve his aim. But the opposition Democrat Party and a group of 40 senators boycotted the so-called “four-party solution”.

Hardly had the proposed Constitution rewrite attempt been properly buried when the PPP started to show its propensity for machinations.

Out of the blue, Tossaporn Serirak, one of the 111 banned Thai Rak Thai Party executive members, announced that a four-article bill had been drafted to revoke the coup-makers’ Announcement No 27 so that all the former executives of the disbanded party – deprived of the right to be involved in political activities for five years – be granted a sweeping pardon.

He didn’t mention the fact that the punishment had been the result of an open and fair trial that found the party’s key executives had violated the election law. He, of course, deliberately avoided reference to the original purpose of this particular clause – which was to severely punish corrupt politicians involved in widespread electoral fraud.
It was, of course, no coincidence that at the same time, a group of PPP members let it be known they would collect 10,000 signatures to propose a bill to seek a pardon for Thaksin, who has been sentenced to two years in jail for violating Article 100 of the anti-corruption law, with particular reference to a Cabinet member’s “conflict-of-interest” activities.

The move came just as the Thai government was supposed to be trying to obtain Thaksin’s extradition from abroad – and hot on the heels of Thaksin’s public statements attempting to discredit the integrity of the country’s judicial process.

For those who think they can buy their way through everything on their way to regaining power, a truly independent judiciary proves an insurmountable obstacle. And when they feel desperate enough, the ends justify the means, no matter how cataclysmic the end may turn out to be. 

Thai Talk

 

 

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