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PAD plans mass rally if unity bills debated

Posted by arnon_k On August - 3 - 2012

Yellow shirts poised to raise stakes to oust govt

Shrugging aside the delays in considering reconciliation legislation, the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is insisting it will stage a mass rally if the four bills are taken up for debate in the House.

The yellow-shirt group may raise the stakes at the rally to try to oust the Yingluck Shinawatra government, which is sponsoring the bills, in addition to legislators, said PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang.

“The best reconciliation is strict law enforcement for wrongdoers,” Maj Gen Chamlong told a press conference at Ban Phra Arthit yesterday.

The PAD’s move came a day after the House reconvened on Wednesday.

The four bills have been proposed by three Pheu Thai MPs, including red-shirt core leader and deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Natthawut Saikua and Matubhum Party leader Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who in 2006 led a coup to topple the Thaksin Shinawatra administration.

Supporters of the bills say the measures are aimed at patching up the long-running quarrel between supporters and opponents of Thaksin, currently in self-imposed exile abroad.

Instead, they are paradoxically leading to a new round of social conflict as critics allege the measures are merely an attempt to whitewash Thaksin, who is accused of abusing his power during his term, and red-shirt protesters who used violence during demonstrations.

Amid fierce opposition to the government’s rush to enact the bills, the Pheu Thai-dominated house on Wednesday decided to move up 10 other bills for consideration next week. The PM’s Office has told the King Prajadhipok Institute, whose reconciliation proposals were used by Gen Sonthi as a basis for his bill, to invite all parties to join countrywide forums on national reconciliation.

But, the PAD said yesterday it will not take part in the forums, known as Sarn Sewana, because it believes the talks have a “set agenda” to benefit certain groups, said PAD co-leader and spokesman Parnthep Pourpongpan.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the PAD’s move was overly paranoid, adding that the group was being narrow minded about the government’s efforts to end the conflict.

Meanwhile, the Truth for Reconciliation Commission, which was set up by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government in the wake of political violence sparked by the red shirts in 2010, will release its final report on the path of national reconciliation early next month.

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