Coup lovers?
By Mongkol Bangprapa

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has defended its much criticised "New Politics" platform, saying that it was not an invitation for a military coup d'etat but a way out of dirty politics.

"It's untrue that we're proposing the New Politics to invite military coups. The PAD has made it clear that we don't support a coup, and a coup is not a solution to our problems," Pibhop Dhongchai, one of PAD's core leaders, said yesterday.

The PAD introduced its new administrative structure at its anti-government demonstration on Friday night. The proposal is seen by political observers and the People Power party (PPP) as a call for military intervention.

Mr Pibhop, however, said in fact the group wanted the military to consider their New Politics proposal before taking part in any effort to develop politics - all without staging a coup.

PPP MP Jatuporn Phromphan said the New Politics was just a veiled invitation to the military to intervene.

Mr Jatuporn said those proposing New Politics had violated Article 113 of the Criminal Code, for which the maximum punishment is the death penalty.

He also demanded police take action against PAD leaders.

Article 113 says that people who try to abolish the constitution or the legal, administrative, and judicial powers which it underpins will be sentenced to life imprisonment or death for treason.

Mr Pibhop argued that the New Politics proposal suggested no change to independent organisations, cabinet structure, the monarchy or the judicial system.

It suggested changes mainly in the process for selecting members of the House and Senate, and the way people can participate in decision-making inside and outside parliament.

Sondhi Limthongkul, a PAD leader who promoted the New Politics idea on the group's stage, said not all MPs in the House under New Politics would be elected. The House must contain representatives from all groups of people.

The proposed changes in the selection process were intended to correct a problem in the current parliamentary system where most members of parliament were wealthy people who enter politics to pursue their own business interests, not to fight for the interests of constituents, he said.

He said New Politics allowed the military to intervene in politics under four conditions. First, if somebody committed lese majeste and no legal action was taken. Second, if the government did nothing, just like the Samak Sundaravej administration.

Third, if state officials became involved in corruption, and fourth, if Thai sovereignty was infringed. Under the New Politics principle, without the four conditions, the military would not get involved, he said.

Mr Pibhop yesterday also denied a report that PAD had sent a document to military top brass, urging them to stage a coup, adding that PAD has communicated with the military publicly and it should prompt the military to think for themselves how they could contribute to political development in the country.

Earlier, one report said the PAD had sent a document titled "Seizing State Power for Changes by the People," written by Prasert Kiatrungwilaikul, a PAD member based in Chiang Mai, to the Third Army commander.

The document said Thais wanted to set up a government that directly belonged to the people. The seizure of Government House on June 20 was a first step. Ousting the government was the next step, which would be carried out by July.

An interim government will be set up to run the country as a constitutional monarchy for three years, a Government House source quoted the document as saying.

Mr Pibhop said the PAD wanted to promote their New Politics proposal by floating the idea among the public and academics to encourage parties to adopt the platform. It was a process to create change with the people's consent.

Democrat spokesman Ong-art Klampaibul said his party had not seen all the details of the proposal, but it believed a constitutional monarchy with a parliament at its heart suited Thailand best.

Bangkok Post