Monday, January 27, 2020
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These days, many people are closely watching the steps that Thailand’s oldest political party, the Democrats, will take. This is because the party seems to be taking a totally different course from its rival, the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

Although the Cabinet led by Yingluck Shinawatra is seen as vastly inferior to previous cabinets under her brother Thaksin, the Democrat Party has failed to undermine it effectively, despite the obvious weaknesses.

On the other hand, the opposition party is doing all it can by whatever means to overthrow the Yingluck administration. Its efforts have reached the point where many observers simply shake their heads in disapproval at some of the party’s actions, which have been deemed as overstepping democratic behaviour.

Former Democrat leader Chuan Leekpai once famously said, back in 1992: “I believe in the parliamentary system.”

Today, there are people who mock that remark, saying the party is no longer following that path because of claims that some key party figures are now colluding with various groups such as the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy in a bid to overthrow the government via extra-parliamentary means.

This fits the red-shirt leaders’ repeated claim that the Democrat Party does not play by the rules, such as the time when Abhisit Vejjajiva’s cabinet was arranged inside a military barracks and its dependency on the so-called independent state agencies and the Army to oust Thaksin-led governments.

Some of these allegations were even admitted to be true by key figures within the Democrat Party.

While it seems the party has no way of gaining more seats in Parliament than Pheu Thai, the Democrats ought to try to come up with a new strategy.

Deputy party leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot has a theory that the Democrats are like a frog trapped in slowly boiling water. However, reforms he proposed have been rejected by party heavyweights.

The party also lacks a catchy motto that could energise voters like that of the Pheu Thai – “Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts”, or “Rethink and re-do” by the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai, Thaksin’s initial political entity.

Instead, the Democrats seem trapped in the old game of mud-slinging, daily pedantic verbal retaliation and harsh verbal comments made on social media. Its Blue Sky satellite TV channel, meanwhile, repeatedly attacks Thaksin and the red shirts without offering anything new to convince the non-converted.

Filibusters, including irrational protests during parliamentary deliberation, that drag on overnight have also left people fed up and not wanting to follow the debate. The Democrats also rejected all alternatives offered by opponents including the latest political reform forum, even though they could gain political points from the public if they just listened to what the government has to offer – and pull out when it’s obvious that it’s not going to work.

Their attitude – being too eager to get what they want – could hurt the party if they don’t get what they want, and end up alienating supporters who are not partisan fans. Their actions seem like a nagging child who cries loudly without caring when his or her parents refuse to buy a toy.

The party ought to reform, if possible, before it’s too late, and its chances in the next election disappear.

Pheu Thai MPs to push for debate on amnesty bill

Posted by Rattana_S On July - 21 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Lawmakers from the ruling Pheu Thai Party plan to push for a controversial amnesty bill to be tabled for House deliberation when Parliament reconvenes in early August.

Now that the Budget Bill for fiscal 2014 was unlikely to be tabled for deliberation on August 7, due to a delay by the House vetting committee, they said yesterday that the amnesty bill proposed by a group of Pheu Thai MPs should top the agenda for that day.

Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema, a major sponsor of the amnesty bill, said yesterday that the draft law should be put forward for deliberations on August 7, although many party seniors wanted the Budget Bill to be taken up first.

He said he expected the amnesty bill to pass the House within a day.

He said many red-shirt protesters being jailed in connection with the unrest of 2010 wanted an amnesty law urgently.

Another Pheu Thai MP Paijit Sriworakhan, who is a deputy chief whip of the coalition, said yesterday that government whips agreed the Budget Bill was unlikely to be submitted for House reading on August 7, as the vetting committee had not yet completed its work.

He expected the bill to be tabled for reading between August 14 to 16.

Paijit voiced support for the idea of having deliberations on the amnesty bill on August 7.

He said he did not expect any problem to arise during the House reading.

The issue had led to a confrontation between coalition and opposition MPs during the previous parliamentary session.

In response to a plan by Pheu Thai seniors for the Budget Bill to be deliberated on early, Paijit said the vetting committee should be allowed ample time, or there could be some mistakes.

Protesters who have been occupying Sanam Luang for almost two months comprise of many different groups, all with one goal – to topple the government.

However, they are not clear on when, or if they will ever achieve that goal. There is also no agreement on who should replace the Pheu Thai Party and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, if that day finally comes.

These same Sanam Luang protesters were at the middle of a controversy recently when they were accused of attempting to “snatch away” a large group of fellow

protesters from the anti-government white-mask movement.

Wearing white Guy Fawkes masks and supporting followers through their Facebook page “V for Thailand”, the so-called leaders of the white-mask protesters cancelled their weekly anti-government rally scheduled at CentralWorld. However, other white-mask supporters were upset at the decision and said the movement was a leaderless operation. They decided instead to resume their Sunday rallies at a new venue in Lumpini Park.

“We are not planning to become the longest rally supporters in Thailand, but as of today we don’t know for how much longer we will be gathering at this site,” said Thai Patriotic Front leader, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, who used to join the rallies of the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

The rallies first started in March with Chaiwat’s group gathering in Si Sa Ket to protest the role of the International Court of Justice in the Preah Vihear territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

In May, the group moved their protests to Sanam Luang and joined the anti-government Thai Patriotic Front, the Palang Thammatippatai and farmers’ groups protesting the rice-pledging scheme.

About a dozen Santi Asoke members also joined the Thai Patriotic Front’s supporters.

At midday silence pervades over Sanam Luang as protestors sleep in their tents. There are two distinct camps – the Thai Patriotic Front and the protesting farmers.

A woman called Chan, who said she was from Bangkok Chan, claimed she attended the daily rallies. She was a supporter of PAD, and said she was demanding that the Pheu Thai government resign. However, when asked who deserved to be the next prime minister she was unable to say.

Palang Thammatippatai protesters as Sanam Luang have also been attracting attention with their communist-style workers’ uniforms – a leftover from the 1960s.

Yod Jirapha a member of the group said he was a real communist supporter, and had joined the rally to call on the government to turn power over to the people.

Yod said the uniforms and caps with red stars – similar to the ones warn by Thai communist of the ’60s – were provided to the group, but he declined to name the benefactor. Before he could provide any more details to this Nation reporter, Yod was taken away by security officers.

The various groups have also set up a zone with open air showers, but, toilet facilities are provided by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

They have no problem when it comes to food – there are a number of separate eating areas with one main “central kitchen” which welcomes everyone with free meals throughout the day. Another kitchen is used to distribute food to protesters throughout the camp.

A man who identified himself as Kitti, but declined to give his last name, said he had brought his “Kitti Paitul Kitchen” to support the protesters. Kitti said he was also a PAD supporter, but then joined a number of Chaiwat rallies protesting against corruption in the Yingluck government. His kitchen, he said, provided supporters with two meals a day – popular dishes were green curry, red curry and omelette with rice.

There is also a hair salon for female protestors at the Sanam Luang site. Boonjeur Madee, the owner, said she was a member of Santi Asoke.

She said she wanted to help people in the camp because they had already sacrificed a lot by joining the rallies at Sanam Luang. She said she had also brought her beauty accessories so that she could pass the time by training those who were interested in learning. Moreover, she cut protestors’ hair for free. Each day, she said dozens of people came to get their hair cut at her salon.

Unlike other street protests in Bangkok in the past few years, this rally does not have an open-air market and there are no T-shirts selling, or souvenirs related to the rally.

Pheu Thai MPs also upset over changes

Posted by Rattana_S On June - 30 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Criticism by outgoing and outspoken Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung has prompted Pheu Thai MPs to also complain about the Cabinet reshuffle.

Pheu Thai party-list MP Cherdchai Tantisiron said too many outsiders were being appointed in the latest reshuffle and this meant veteran MPs like Mingkwan Saengsuwan, who was knowledgeable of trade issues, had been passed over. Cherdchai said some of the new ministers were bureaucrats who would…