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20-05-07, 07:41 PM #1
Poll: Intensified Thai political crisis looming
Poll: Intensified Thai political crisis looming
Thailand is re-entering a period of political crisis, Abac Poll director Noppadol Kannikar warned Sunday.
He said the interim government and the Council for National Security should urgently attend to improving the economy and address the concerns widely stated by all sectors of society.
In a rare extended analysis, the head of the respected Assumption University warned both the CNS and Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont that time is running out and that the public perceives the country as being in deep crisis.
Mr Noppadol said no positive factor was seen in the country now and the people's patience and good-will was wearing thin in regard to those in power.
The interim government was installed by the CNS after it carried out a widely welcomed coup d'etat overthrowing the elected government of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra last September 19.
The government and the military council should urgently implement improvements in Thailand's sluggish economy, resolve their differences and carry out the work desired by people, and create a better understanding with the groups or factions that formerly supported them.
Solving the problems would require both the government and the CNS to eradicate corruption among politicians and state officials help the people to earn more money to cope with rising inflation, and improving the community environment.
His remarks were based on results of a survey conducted by ABAC among 4,525 people nationwide between May 10-19.
According to the ABAC survey, 42.9 per cent of the respondents agreed that the country's economy was deteriorating and 37.7 per cent said the economy remained as bad as before.
Over two-thirds of respondents – 67 per cent – said their income and spending were at low level. (TNA)
20-05-07, 07:45 PM #2
Re: Poll: Intensified Thai political crisis looming
PM: Another overthrow of govt unlikely
'No secret deal struck with Thaksin'
By Bangkok Post reporters
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont expressed confidence yesterday that the country's political situation was stable enough not to permit another coup as feared. He made the statement during his appearance on the ''Poed Ban Phitsanulok'' talk show which was broadcast on Channel 11 and Radio Thailand yesterday, saying that there is no reason to justify another coup.
''A coup is unlikely to be successful under the prevailing conditions,'' he said, adding he was ready to step down if asked by the Council for National Security, the coup-makers.
He also downplayed fears that the political situation may turn violent at the end of the month, as the Constitution Tribunal was scheduled to hand down its rulings in the party dissolution cases brought against the Thai Rak Thai and Democrat parties, who were accused of electoral fraud.
Thai Rak Thai was accused of bankrolling little-known parties to contest last year's general election while the Democrats were accused of making false allegations against its arch-rival.
Speculation is rife that members and supporters of the former ruling party plan to take to the streets if Thai Rak Thai is disbanded.
In addition, the investigation of the Assets Scrutiny Committee into corruption cases filed against Thaksin Shinawatra and his cronies were close to conclusion. Among them are the Ratchada land deal in which the ASC is seeking criminal charges against Mr Thaksin and his wife, Khunying Potjaman. The case is pending the Office of the Attorney-General's consideration.
According to Gen Surayud, some sectors are certainly going to be unhappy if the Constitution Tribunal's verdict goes against the TRT, but the situation was unlikely to deteriorate to the point that it would get out of hand.
''If we do not accept what is considered final and absolute, our country would be seen as lawless,'' he said.
The tribunal's ruling would also reflect political ethics and morality of politician, he said.
In case of a guilty verdict, executives of political parties on the receiving end would also be banned from engaging in political activities for five years.
Gen Surayud has received no report about Mr Thaksin's planned return to the country on May 29, a day before the ruling.
The prime minister maintained that he had stuck to the reconciliatory approach and heeded the rule of law all along.
He denied speculation that he had made a secret deal with Mr Thaksin, who is living in exile in London.
The prime minister has been under criticism recently for being slow or too soft in dealing with the deposed leader by allowing him too much room to politically manouvre abroad and discredit the government.
Many were convinced with the theory of a secret deal when the cabinet decided against issuing a cabinet resolution ordering state officials to give cooperation to the ASC who were looking into alleged irregularities in state projects. The cabinet's resolution to extend the ASC's term until the end of the government's term drew boos from those who believed the ASC would not be able to wrap up all its corruption probes by then.
''I can assure you that no such deal exists with Mr Thaksin,'' he said.
The prime minister also took a swipe at the media for playing up unsubstantiated reports, calling on them to use better journalist judgement. ''Reports can be cooked up. If you feel there is no ground in certain reports, please do not use them. I don't think they have shored up sales that much,'' he said.
21-05-07, 02:35 AM #3
Re: Poll: Intensified Thai political crisis looming
Govt in move to head off violence
Authorities set to call on 700,000 supporters to block trouble, says Isoc adviser Pallop
Authorities plan to block likely attempts to incite mob violence ahead of a politically challenging time by using a 700,000-strong network of supporters, a security adviser to the junta chief said yesterday.
General Pallop Pinmanee, adviser to the director of the Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc), said the plan called for agency supporters to "approach targeted groups for a better understanding".
Network members will explain the good intentions of the government and the Council for National Security (CNS) in solving state problems, he said. CNS chairman Sonthi Boonyaratglin is Isoc director.
"The idea is to take out as many as possible prospective demonstrators. In a public rally with less than 50,000 participants, there will be no problem," Pallop said.
He was speaking at a gathering of community representatives from all 50 districts of Bangkok at City Hall.
He claimed there were attempts to incite clashes between supporters and detractors of the government and the CNS.
His comments come just more than a week ahead of historic rulings in separate electoral-fraud cases against the Democrat and Thai Rak Thai parties. The rulings will be delivered on May 30.
Pallop did not think rulings to dissolve the parties would lead to violence.
The Thai Rak Thai and Democrat parties yesterday demanded decisions over their fate be made using the law and not influence.
Caretaker leader Chaturon Chaisang insisted the party would not pressure the Constitution Tribunal over its May 30 ruling.
The tribunal has been considering allegations of electoral fraud in the April 2006 poll levelled at the Thai Rak Thai, Democrat and several smaller parties. They face dissolution if found guilty.
Chaturon said his party was not asking the tribunal to apply "political science" to its decision, but the law free of influence.
"We believe the judges will not take orders, even though the Council for National Security has been exhibiting such a tendency. The party just wants the tribunal to maintain justice. Whatever the outcome, the verdict will be historic," he said.
The party remains confident it will not be dissolved.
"The largest party and the oldest party should not be dissolved. There is no need to prepare for anything," he said.
Asked about supporters seizing provincial halls if the ruling dissolves the party, Chaturon warned against the use of violence, which would lead to confrontation and arrest.
"We offer a better alternative - capturing Government House in an election. Give us the majority in the House so that we can come back and run the country and solve people's problems," he said.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said in an article he was confident the nine tribunal judges would rule using the law and not bow to influence or pressure.
Abhisit opposed those who believed if one party was dissolved so should the other.
"This concept is strange. If the facts in the two cases are different such a verdict would conflict with the truth.
"We have pointed out attempts by Thaksin Shinawatra to put the Democrat Party in the same boat as the Thai Rak Thai when he realised his party faced dissolution," Abhisit said.
He disagreed with suggestions judges would use "political science" to settle the case rather than the law.
"This practice was used in the asset-concealment case against Thaksin in 2001. Society should learn a lesson because the crisis and problems we face now could have been avoided if we had not allowed in power a person who was not transparent about his assets or had conflicts of interest," Abhisit said.
The Democrat leader rejected suggestions of a compromise that would not see party executives banned from politics.
"This will create problems for the Democrat Party which has a strong democratic foundation.
"On the other hand, this proposal will benefit factions defecting from the Thai Rak Thai. It will become weaker. Democrats will be confused. New political groups emerging from the Thai Rak Thai will shake hands with the CNS to cling to power," Abhisit said.
Democrat Party spokesman Ong-art Klampaiboon said it was distributing a fact sheet explaining the charges against it. He hoped it would prevent confusion and political turmoil.
Copies will be sent to party members, former members of Parliament, executive board members and party branches.
He said the party would respect the tribunal's decision. There will be no demonstrations by supporters. "We are ready to abide by the verdict," he said.
Thai Rak Thai spokesman Kuthep Saikrachang concurred with Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, who said the tribunal must rule freely and not dissolve all parties if it dissolves one.
Thai Rak Thai has distributed its own fact-sheet and published it on its website in English and Thai.
It contains information submitted to the tribunal during the hearing and is titled "The legal case against the Thai Rak Thai Party: allegations and facts".
The fact sheet concludes: "Under the present challenging situation to national cooperation and peacefulness, every Thai citizen rests their hope on the integrity and justness of the Constitutional Tribunal to reach the verdict according to the evidence without succumbing to any outside interference".
Tribunal judges were yesterday urged to explain how they plan to reach a verdict to prevent political-advocacy groups from instigating protests that may lead to confrontation and bloodshed.
Campaign for Popular Democracy secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila called on the judges to ensure that they will rule without discrimination and without political interference.
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