Monday, December 09, 2013

Thai crisis deepens as main opposition party quits Parliament

By Todd Pitman, Dec. 8, The Associated Press

BANGKOK — Thailand's main opposition party resigned from Parliament on Sunday to protest what it called "the illegitimacy" of an elected government with which it can no longer work. The move deepens the country's latest political crisis one day before new street demonstrations that many fear could turn violent.

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut told The Associated Press his party could not participate in the legislature anymore because the body is "no longer accepted by the people."

The minority Democrats are closely aligned with anti-government protesters who have staged the country's biggest rallies in years. The demonstrations began last month and are aimed at ousting Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government came to power in a landslide vote in 2011 that observers said was free and fair.

The Democrats have not won an election since 1992, and some of their leaders appear to have given up on electoral politics because they cannot win. The protesters are demanding a non-elected people's council lead the country instead.

Thailand has been plagued by political turmoil since Yingluck's brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a former premier, was toppled in a 2006 military coup. In broad terms, the confrontation pits the Thai elite and the educated middle-class against Thaksin's power base in the countryside, which benefited from populist policies designed to win over the rural poor.

At least five people have been killed and at least 289 injured since the latest unrest began. Several days of violence ended suddenly last week as both sides paused to celebrate the birthday of the nation's revered king, who turned 86 Thursday. But protesters have vowed a final showdown Monday in Bangkok and will march en masse from a government complex they seized to Yingluck's office.

"We will rise up. We will walk on every street in the country. We will not be going home again," said protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who recently resigned from the Democrat party to lead the anti-government movement. "The people who will be going home empty-handed are those in the Thaksin regime."

Suthep called on supporters to keep the protests peaceful, but dozens of Thai and international schools in Bangkok announced they would be closed Monday amid concerns over the march.

Democrat leader and former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, who said he would also join the protests, said his party colleagues' resignations from Parliament were effective immediately.

Yingluck's government has been "illegitimate" ever since her ruling party tried to ram through an amnesty bill that critics allege was mainly designed to bring back Thaksin from exile, Abhisit said. Thaksin lives in Dubai to avoid a jail sentence for a corruption conviction he says was politically motivated.

"The solution to our current problems needs to start with the showing of responsibility," Abhisit said. "The prime minister has never showed any responsibility or conscience."

Abhisit also criticized Yingluck's Pheu Thai party for trying to amend a clause in the constitution that would have transformed the Senate into a fully elected body. Currently about half its members are selected by a panel of judges and heads of independent state agencies. The Constitutional Court sharply scolded Yingluck's party for the move.

The Democrats held 153 of the 500 seats in the lower house, according to the latest figures on their website.

In a speech Sunday, Yingluck said again that she was not trying to cling to power and would be "happy to resign" and dissolve Parliament if that could ease the crisis. But she said those things could only happen if new elections are organized within 60 days and all parties accept the outcome.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who recently resigned from the Democrat party to lead the protests, has repeatedly rejected those initiatives and refused to negotiate.

Yingluck also reiterated an offer to set up a national forum to find a way out of the crisis. She said if there was still no resolution, a national referendum could be held, but she did not specify on what.

Any "government that comes to power without elections would significantly affect our image and confidence in the country," Yingluck said, referring to Suthep's demand for a specially appointed "People's Council" to rule.

Whatever happens, Yingluck added, "it must be asked whether this is the wish of the majority of the people or not."


Anonymous said...

Khmer can do copy From democratic Thai it look same problem that Thai people not accepted Yenlac shivutra done in these days.Just differance is Khmer Hanoi control the top ranks OF PUPETS HUN and Gansters. But I,don't understand Khmer militairies on Hun side not on parents,brothers,mothers side who they love very much did you heard Me would turn around behind your back it big lost Koh trol and sea.Can ships came to our ports without crossing Viet and Thai sea????KKRANHUN EASAN

Anonymous said...

Dear compatriots,

Our Cambodia situation has a quite similarity with the situation in Ukraine.

Bun Thoeun

Kiev Protesters Toppled Lenin Statue.

KIEV, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Crowds toppled a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in the Ukrainian capital and attacked it with hammers on Sunday in the latest mass protests against President Viktor Yanukovich and his plans for closer ties with Russia.

The statue's felling - a symbolic rejection of Moscow's power - came after opposition leaders told hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to keep up pressure on Yanukovich to sack his government.

A Reuters reporter at the scene saw the protesters breaking up the statue with hammers after using ropes and metal bars to bring it crashing down.

The demonstrators are furious with the Yanukovich government for its decision to ditch a landmark pact with the European Union in favour of a trade deal with Moscow, Ukraine's Soviet-era overlord.

Yanukovich's sudden tack towards Russia has provoked the biggest street protests since the 2004-5 Orange Revolution, when people power forced a re-run of a fraud-tainted election and thwarted his first run for the presidency.

Sunday's rally marked a further escalation in weeks of confrontation between the authorities and protesters that have raised fears for political and economic stability in the former Soviet republic of 46 million people.

"This is a decisive moment when all Ukrainians have gathered here because they do not want to live in a country where corruption rules and where there is no justice," said world heavyweight boxing champion-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko.

Anonymous said...

Bun Thoeun

Very good idea but what do you wait for? Please go ahead, you go first...If not, just useless barking.

Kdam Chet

Anonymous said...

C est très claire que le cambodge est sous la contrôle de youn, et hun sen est justement un pantin, donc maintenant le destin du cambodge est dans les mains des yuth khmer.

Anonymous said...

I, not worry about Thai prblem we face on our problem turn your nect back to south and east we got big problem||||||KRANHUN EASAN