Thailand, Amnesty Bill Could Make Or Break Yingluck’s Government

Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: November 10, 2013 Thailand, Amnesty Bill Could Make Or Break Yingluck's Government

Thailand, Amnesty Bill Could Make Or Break Yingluck’s Government

thai_protests_police_amnesty_law_08_07_2013

The Amnesty bill has proven to be the worst move made by Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government in its 2-yr tenure, further dimming her brother Thaksin’s chance of returning home.

The absolute majority enjoyed by the ruling Pheu Thai Party in the Lower House secured a quick and easy passage of the Amnesty bill last Friday.

A similar debate result was expected from the Thailand Senate, which is also controlled by the ruling party.

The draft Amnesty law, which many critics say is a thinly veiled attempt to “whitewash”  the alleged crimes of former Premier Thaksin, sparked widespread public outrage across the social spectrum, with college professors, students, businessmen and white-collar workers taking to the city’s major streets for over a week.

The Amnesty bill’s aim is said to help achieve national reconciliation, it has pushed the Yingluck regime into a deep crisis. This has forced the 1st female prime minister of the Kingdom to reverse.

To prevent a political backlash, the premier has said that she will respect the decision of the Senate on the measure and that she will not revive it if it will be rejected by the upper chamber.

Saturday, 4 coalition partners of the government signed a joint declaration to publicly assure that they would strongly oppose the refilling of the Amnesty bill in the parliament.

The once pro Amnesty Senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanich also made an about-face, vowing, along with a group of lawmakers, to abort the Amnesty bill in the 1st reading.

The rejection by the Senate of the draft law is what the Yingluck government is expecting as a way out from the current political scandal. And according to some analysts her political opponents are using the issue to overthrow the government.

In an ultimatum it issued  Thursday, the opposition Democrats threatened to let a “people’s court” judge the fate of the Yingluck government if it fails to withdraw the Amnesty bill from parliament by 6 p  Monday.

The emotion-filled call has fanned the political flame that has now engulfed other parts of the country, including the far south.

Some anti-government Senators, who called themselves the “Group of 40″, have demanded an immediate dissolution of the Lower House and an early general election, saying that the government has lost the people’s trust because of its relentless push for the Amnesty bill.

By refusing to show up, the group stopped the Senate’s effort to call an early debate on the draft law Friday.

Some academics have described the Amnesty bill as the “worst legislation” in Thailand’s history, saying that this is an affront to the Rule of Law.

The expanded version of the bill is designed to grant blanket pardon to those involved in political unrest and bloodshed since the Y 2006 military coup that toppled the Thaksin regime and forced him into exile.

If the legislation comes into effect, just a few people would benefit from it since most of those who would qualify to receive pardon were already convicted between Ys 2006 and 2008 with relatively light sentences of 1 to 6 yrs in jail.

Thaksin, on the other hand, has been on the run from a Y 2008 corruption conviction he received from the Supreme Court that sentenced him to a 2-yr jail term.

Political commentator Voranai Vanijaka urged the former premier, who has set off a long running “Tug-of-War” in Thailand, to make a “sacrifice” for the benefit of the country and it the Thai people.

“He is apparently turning the perceptions of many of his own supporters against him, as many see a blanket Amnesty as a betrayal by him,” said Voranai.

Early last week, in a message posted on the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page of his legal adviser, Thaksin said he would respect the people’s opinion on the Amnesty bill, but did not give a hint that he wanted his name out of the list that would be given pardon.

Surichai Wun Gaeo, professor with Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University, said the Amnesty bill should not be pushed too hard in a short time.”This demands serious thinking from all sides.

We need to look at the real issues of conflict but beyond that we need to talk about the future that we can share together. If one bill is proposed too hard by the majority, it will result in further conflict,” Surichai said.

Stay tuned.

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Paul Ebeling

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Paul Ebeling

Pattern Recognition Analyst, equities, commodities, forex
Paul Ebeling is best known for his work as writer and publisher of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly-regarded, weekly financial market letter, where he enjoys an international audience among opinion makers, business leaders, and respected organizations. Something of a pioneer in online stock market and commodities discussion and analysis, Ebeling has been online since 1994. He has studied and worked in the global financial and stock markets since 1984.
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