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Rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Monday was released on bail after appearing in court for his involvement in the political violence in 2010, in which several people died and many more were injured.

Suthep, who had been kept in military detention after reporting to the National Council for Peace and Order, was freed on Monday and taken to Court to face the charges. His lawyer asked for the bail, using a bank account of Bt600,000 as the guarantee. The court prohibits him from travelling abroad and if he wishes to travel, he has to get permission from the Court.

Suthep missed an earlier court appearance on the same charges as he was busy leading the anti-government campaign. Former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva is also facing the same charge.

He is also facing summons on an insurrection charge for leading the anti-government protests against then prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Prayuth in charge

Posted by pakin On May - 21 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Army chief to bring together warring groups to find a way out of political impasse; insists martial law is not a coup but only aimed at restoring order in the country

With martial law in place, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha intends to bring together all stakeholders in the political conflict to break the deadlock, as he says the country cannot continue in this crisis any longer.

Prayuth decided to impose the strict law after senators failed to find a way to appoint a neutral PM to end the political crisis, and the military detected the possibility of the warring parties engaging in violence, a source said.

“May I beg all Thai people to take off all ‘coloured’ shirts. We begin from square one to take the country forward to calm, peace and order. We have to look forward to the future and how we can move on,” Prayuth told a press conference yesterday.

Meeting with acting PM

The commander will today meet acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan, anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and acting Deputy Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboon-lertchai, who are all involved in the power play.

The caretaker government and its red-shirt supporters want to have an early election to facilitate their return to power, while the protesters and senators are looking for an unelected “neutral” premier to form an interim government to carry out their “reform” agenda that would somehow remove the Thaksin Shinawatra camp from politics.

Prayuth clarified while declaring martial law early yesterday that it was not tantamount to a coup and people should not be concerned.

Niwattumrong, meanwhile, dismissed rumours that he was planning to suspend Prayuth as Army chief, adding that he would meet the top brass this week.

The military is seeking to restore order and is asking political groups to halt their protests, he said. He also urged the public to continue their lives as usual.

Asked if he had informed the government about the declaration of martial law, Prayuth said: “Where is the government now? … I don’t know … Let them do their work. They should work, if they can work.

“But I don’t bother the government. Now, the civil servants and the military are working for the country. I don’t care about the others,” he said.

Prayuth said life would continue as usual. “We’ll try not to impinge on rights too much,” he said. “We will not create trouble for the people. Many articles [in martial law] have not been enforced yet.”

The caretaker government, meanwhile, called Cabinet members to a meeting at SC Park Hotel in the Rama IX area to evaluate the situation after the declaration of martial law, PM’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva said.

Reacting to the military move, Niwattumrong issued a statement saying it should be binding on all equally and peacefully under the rule of law and the Constitution.

Separately, when asked if there would be an early election, Prayuth pretended he had not heard the question, but later joked: “Perhaps I need to consult an ear doctor.”

Prayuth called a meeting of heads of state agencies, including permanent secretaries and directors of ministries, representatives of independent organisations, professional associations and civic groups to explain his plan after announcing martial law.

Security operations

The military’s Peace and Order Maintaining Command was set up under the martial law, replacing the government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order. The military took over all security operations and other agencies, mainly police who worked to keep order in the capital, returned to their posts and offices.

Troops were seen guarding many key locations and media offices, while some media outlets were forced to close to stop provocative messages.

Prayuth specifically told the chief of the Department of Special Investigation, Tarit Pengdith: “Stop. Enough. If you want to sue anybody, sue me instead,” a source in the meeting quoted the commander as saying, referring to Tarit’s role over the past months in trying to bring protest leaders to justice.

Regarding the election, Prayuth said: “If the election cannot be held, we should not have the election. If we need to sacrifice the blood of the people, we should not have the election,” according to Election Commission secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong.

Senate, Suthep’s big hope to topple govt

Posted by pakin On May - 19 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

PDRC’s final battle will try to create a political vacuum to achieve its goal

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the Senate are obviously adopting the strategy of “take separate paths but join forces in the attack” in a bid to reach a common goal – install an interim government which is fully functional and led by a prime minister with full authority.

Although PDRC chief Suthep Thaugsuban appears to be disappointed with the Senate for failing to immediately nominate a PM when it reconvened last week, he still believes the Senate is the only legitimate organisation left to fulfil his group’s desire of unseating the government.

Senator Kamnoon Sitthisamarn’s recent Facebook comment could be interpreted to mean that the Senate is waiting for the situation to be become even more ripe before calling a session to nominate a new PM.

The Senate boldly declared last week that it was ready to call a session to select the new PM if the situation merited it.

The upper House avoided using the word “PM” based on Article 7 of the Charter, as this idea has been rejected by the government.

The Senate cannot risk committing any action that may result in senators being charged with insurrection, as pointed out by pro-government groups, if they proceed with the installation of an interim government while the caretaker government is still functioning.

Legal experts are split over whether the Senate has the authority to nominate a PM. This may need a Constitutional Court ruling.

Besides, acting Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai is still awaiting royal endorsement to legally serve as president of the upper House.

The scenarios cited by the Senate that could lead to a political vacuum are the remaining caretaker Cabinet members resigning and the general election not being held due to legal issues such as a disagreement between the Election Commission and the caretaker government.

In the PDRC’s final battle plan, declared by Suthep on Saturday, the group is apparently resorting to actions that it hopes will bring about a political vacuum by next Monday.

Suthep vowed to dispatch teams to force the remaining 25 Cabinet members to resign. He called on his supporters to locate the ministers and urge them to resign.

“If you see them, even at the airport or any street, please tell them to submit their resignation for the sake of the country,” he said.

The State Enterprise Workers Relations Confederation, the PDRC’s main ally, reportedly plans to cut off basic infrastructure in targeted spots.

Suthep called on bureaucrats and ministry officials who are PDRC supporters to demonstrate civil disobedience and called a meeting of retired top officials to seek their support in uprooting the Thaksin regime.

He said he would surrender to police to face charges, including murder charges over the 2010 deadly crackdown on red shirts, if the PDRC didn’t achieve victory by next Monday.

May 27 Suthep’s latest D-Day

Posted by pakin On May - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Suthep Thaugsuban has set May 27 as the latest D-Day for his crusade, urging millions of supporters to join him in the “last fight” to oust the government.

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general said he would turn himself in to police whether he won or lost at the end of his seven-month struggle.

Addressing supporters on Saturday after the Senate refused to appoint an interim prime minister as the PDRC had demanded, the former Democrat Party heavyweight said he would spend one final week trying to achieve his goals.

“It’s a pity the announcement of the senators on Friday couldn’t give a specific time frame [for naming a premier],” said Mr Suthep.

“Unlike them, the people have been in this fight for a long time and they deserve to know when they will succeed.”

Therefore, he said, the PDRC needed to set a clear timetable. The “last mission” will start on Sunday and end on May 26.

The “final battle” just concluded was the 11th declared by Mr Suthep since he began rallying opponents of the Pheu Thai government in October last year.

So far, the Constitutional Court has done what protesters, numbering in the hundreds of thousands at some points, had been unable to do. The charter court judges on May 7 found Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of malfeasance in the transfer of a civil servant and ordered her and nine ministers to step down.

A skeleton cabinet led by Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan is still in office but their ability to administer national affairs is being challenged. An election, meanwhile, is nowhere in sight.

Outlining his plans for the week, Mr Suthep said that at 10am on Sunday, the PDRC would meet with representatives of state enterprise unions to assign duties. Another meeting will be held at 2pm with retired civil servants and retired governors sympathetic to the cause.

The plans would be carried out on Monday, he said, without specifying what the plans were.

In the meantime, he said, PDRC supporters would start to “visit” caretaker cabinet ministers and demand that they resign because they were obstructing the progress of the country.

As well, civil servants would be asked to challenge the authority of ministers by refusing to take their orders.

On Thursday, PDRC leaders intend to meet with the heads of government agencies, permanent secretaries and the attorney general to discuss ways to eradicate the influence of “the Thaksin regime” in their offices.

These events would be followed from Friday to Sunday a “great uprising among the people nationwide”.

“Tuesday [May 27] will determine our victory. If millions of people do not show up on that day, I’ll turn myself in. I’ll give up whether we win or lose. We’ve done the best we can and we’ll accept the outcome,” said Mr Suthep.

“Until then, we’ll dedicate ourselves to this mission and it will end on May 27. We’ve been down this road long enough. This movie has been showing for a long time.”

Mr Suthep had said earlier that if the Senate did not name an interim prime minister by this past Friday, the PDRC would act as soon as Saturday, or perhaps Monday, to assume “sovereign power”.

The Senate has not totally ruled out the possibility of an appointed premier but says it must involve negotiations with all sides in the political debate.