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Abhisit: Noppadon to blame

Posted by arnon_k On July - 25 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

All current border problems with Cambodia are a consequence of former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama signing a joint communique with Cambodia and supporting Phnom Penh’s unilateral request for the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site, caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday.

He was responding to criticism by Mr Noppadon of the Abhisit government’s performance at the hearings at the International Court of Justice, where Cambodia has filed a case requesting an interpretation of the 1962 ruling on ownership of Preah Vihear temple, which awarded the actual ruins to Cambodia.

Mr Abhisit said Mr Noppadon’s support allowed Cambodia to advance its case in demanding the right to manage the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area around the temple ruins, and his government was then left to find ways to protect the Thai territory.

Asked if there would be any problem in protecting Thai soil when the new government headed by the Pheu Thai Party, which Mr Noppadon supports, takes office soon, Mr Abhisit said he hoped the new government would do its best to protect the national interest.

The border issue had a number of sensitive factors in terms of military strategy and law.

He said his government had been able to block Cambodia’s attempts to occupy the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area over the past three years, and presenting its case to the International Court of Justice had led to the court ordering the withdrawal of Cambodian and Thai forces from the disputed area.

Mr Abhisit said he hoped the new government would listen to the armed forces, which were determined to protect the nation’s sovereignty.

EC to endorse new MPs tomorrow

Posted by arnon_k On July - 19 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Election Commission will decide on Tuesday whether to endorse likely prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party and outgoing prime minister and Democrat caretaker leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, EC member Somchai Juengprasert said on Monday.

Mr Somchai said the EC will tomorrow announce the next batch of MPs whose results it can endorse, after investigating complaints against them.

MPs-elect to be scrutinised during the EC meeting tomorrow include Ms Yingluck, Mr Abhisit and some key members of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) who won seats on the Pheu Thai party list, Mr Somchai said.

The EC is investigating allegations that Ms Yingluck allowed certain banned politicians to assist her in the election campaign and that Mr Abhisit was involved in a form of vote-buying when he approved a “Blue Flag” trade fair in Samut Prakan on June 26, the day of advance voting.

The endorsement of UDD co-leaders such as Natthawut Saikua and Weng Tojirakarn has been delayed because they were jailed on terrorism charges for their roles in the red shirt rallies last year and then released on bail.

The EC has so far endorsed 358 successful election candidates.

The commission must verify at least 475 MPs, or 95 per cent of the overall 500, within 30 days of the July 3 election if the House is to convene for the first time.

Mr Somchai said it is up to the majority of the EC to decide whether to clear the winning candidates of the allegations and endorse their election victories.

He dismissed suggestions that the EC has come under pressure to suspend the endorsement of Ms Yingluck’s MP status.

The EC’s decision is based on evidence and delay in endorsement of election victories has stemmed from numerous complaints, Mr Somchai said.

He agreed that enough MPs should be endorsed for the new House to convene and for the country to move forward. The endorsed MPs can be disqualified later if they are found to have cheated in the poll, Mr Somchai said.

Meanwhile, the New Democracy Party today issued a statement calling for the EC to endorse its single MP-elect on the party list.

The party made the plea for justice after it was reported that it would possibly be dissolved because its leader, Surathin Picharn, had been declared bankrupt by the court and therefore stripped of election rights.

Mr Surathin said he had resigned as the party leader as ordered by the court.

He insisted that the New Democracy Party had been properly registered and certified by EC chairman Apichart Sukkhagganond. The party had fully complied with the law in applying to compete in the election, he said.

Following the July 3 election, New Democracy was entitled to one House seat in the party list system.

Since Mr Surathin, the No 1 on the party’s list, had been disqualified, the seat should instead go to Patcharin Manpan, the No 2 party list candidate.

With potentially one MP on the party list, New Democracy had been named the sixth party to join the Pheu Thai-led coalition government, raising the total numbr of MPs to 300.

But if New Democracy were to be dissolved then the Social Action Party, which came next in the number of votes received in the party list system, that would instead be entitled to the House seat.

If this was the case, the seat would go to Suwit Khunkitti, the No 1 Social Action party list candidate.

Mr Suwit is currently the caretaker natural resources and environment minister in the outgoing government led by Mr Abhisit.

Decision expected tomorrow on royal jet

Posted by arnon_k On July - 17 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

A German court is expected to rule on the release of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s plane tomorrow after the judges called for additional evidence from the Thai side to prove that the jet does not belong to the government.

Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the court delayed the ruling until tomorrow after the German liquidator submitted documents opposing Thailand’s request for the release of the jet.

Thai officials expected the court to hand down the verdict on Friday, but the ruling had to be delayed as the court needed more time to review the documents from the German side, said Mr Abhisit.

The prime minister instructed Civil Aviation Department director-general Wuthichai Singhamanee to travel to Munich to assist Attorney-General Jullasingh Vasantasingh in the case.

The plane seizure was allowed by the German court on Monday after a request from Werner Schneider, the insolvency administrator for German builder Walter Bau AG, to force a 30 million (1.26 billion baht) payment from Thailand.

The action was based on a 2009 decision of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law that Thailand must pay Walter Bau the sum for breaching a bilateral investment treaty between Germany and Thailand.

The UN court found the Thai government broke the terms of a toll road concession operated by a venture partly owned by Walter Bau.

Thailand, led by Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, asked the German court to reverse the seizure order on Friday.

The Thai officials told the court the plane was privately owned and not a government asset, which the Royal Thai Air Force confirmed.

Air Force spokesman ACM Monthol Satchukorn said the Air Force presented the jet to the Crown Prince in 2007.

“There is a letter of presentation that the Foreign Ministry has already presented to the German authorities,” he said.

Jessada Katawaythin, deputy director-general of the Information Department, said that the court had called for additional documents from the Thai government to confirm the jet is privately owned.

Abhisit: Party members will decide

Posted by arnon_k On July - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday that the Democrat membership will decide if they want him to return as party leader, and they should put the party’s best interests first.

The outgoing premier on Monday announced his resignation as Democrat leader after his party suffered a big defeat at the hands of the rival Pheu Thai Party in Sunday’s general election.

Mr Abhisit said he would not discuss the possibility of him accepting the party’s leadership again. He wanted Democrat members to think about the selection of a new leader and executive board.

“I want the party members to revise and crystallise the direction the Democrat Party should take and to be open to ideas.

“They should not be attached to an individual, but think about the good of the party,” the caretaker leader said.

Mr Abhisit declined to comment when reporters asked him why the party lost the election.

“I’m not sorry about my decision to dissolve the House and the Democrat’s loss in the election, because I’ve kept my word by resigning as party leader,” he added.

The Democrat Party will hold a general assembly within 89 days to elect a new leader and executive board, as the law required, he said.

Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai said that although there were many people suitable to lead the party, Mr Abhisit was still the best of all.

Mr Chuan said he agreed with Mr Abhisit’s decision to resign as party leader, saying that a career politician should be true to his word.

The former prime minister said Mr Abhisit led the party while the country was in chaos and plagued with problems. He had weathered a most difficult situation.

Mr Chuan believed these problems would gradually be resolved because people who caused them would soon be in the government.

They were unlikely to cause more problems that would be destructive to themselves. The burning and destruction of property was unlikely to recur, he said.

Mr Chuan said he would not accept the party leadership if nominated for the post.

Asked about the possibility of the Democrat-led government, particularly Mr Abhisit and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, being investigated for allegedly ordering the killing of red-shirt protesters, Mr Chuan said the new government has the chance to establish the truth and take legal action against those found to have really committed crimes related to the violence.

“The principle is that those who violate the law must take the responsibility,” he said.

On a comment by Weng Tojirakarn, a red-shirt leader elected on the Pheu Thai’s party list, that he would push for the release of all red-shirts still in detention, Mr Chuan said this was a matter for the courts to decide, not the government or parliament.

Rak Thailand leader Chuwit Kamolvisit said Mr Abhisit made the right decision to resign, but he should be reappointed and lead the next opposition.