PM: Red shirts must take responsibility over petition


Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva warned Monday that red shirts leaders must take full responsibility if any signatures solicited to support attempted royal pardon for ousted PM have been falsely acquired.

Abhisit was speaking following the pro-Thaksin leaders’s announcement last week that they had gathered altogether five million signatures to support their attempt to seek a pardon for ex-PM Thaksin Shinatra.

“I reiterate that political activities must not affect the nation’s main institution (the monarchy),” he said, adding “Those who receive (personal) benefit from this should stop their action.”

The premier said concerned authorities will examine whether the process of seeking a pardon followed the law. If not, they will inform the public to create an improved understanding of the issue.

The politicians should know what they should do and should not do.

“There’s an attempt to convince people that the government is obstructing the petition movement,” said Abhisit. “The government is simply trying to inform the public of the facts.”

The prime minister said names will be verified after being handed to the Office of the His Majesty’s Principle Private Secretary.

“If found that names and signatures are falsely acquired, the red shirts leaders must take full responsibility, he said.

The Nation


Govt to check names seeking royal pardon for Thaksin

Those who file petition must take responsibility if they dupe the people: Abhisit

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the government would check the name list requesting a royal pardon for former premier Shinawatra Thaksin for fear that people were tricked into signing the petition.

“Those who file the petition must take responsibility if they duped the people. We will take legal action if there is any irregularity,” Abhisit said.

The red shirts would have to submit the petition through the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary, which is authorised to decide whether it could be lodged, he said.

The office normally seeks the government’s opinion first and the government must look for any discrepancies.

Abhisit said the Council of University Presidents of Thailand had earlier forwarded its opinion to the office that the red shirts may have an ulterior motive in filing the petition even though it realised that such a petition could not be accepted.

Abhisit defended the Interior Ministry for opening a channel for people who had lent their signatures to withdraw them, saying the ministry was concerned they might have been misled.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the people were entitled to appeal to His Majesty the King according to Article 91 of the Constitution and the government should let them exercise their rights.

He said the party would file a complaint on Wednesday with the National Anti-Corruption Commission against Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul and the ministry’s permanent secretary Wichai Srikwan for instructing governors and district chiefs to oppose the petition and urge people to withdraw their names.

He accused the two of malfeasance for violating Articles 157 and 259 of the Criminal Code.

Thaksin phoned in to a community radio programme in Chiang Mai attacking the government for depriving citizens of their rights for the move to block the petition.

“If the petition is sent through the Thai post office, or district chief it will go missing,” he said.

A group called “Thais who love peace”, led by Dr Wallop Yangtrong, held a press conference to attack the Council of University Presidents of Thailand for opposing the signature drive, saying the people have the right to seek royal mercy and it is the royal prerogative to make that decision.

He questioned the move to block the petition as a possible offence to the power vested in the monarchy.

By The Nation
Published on August 3, 2009

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