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Yingluck urges foes to hold off on legal salvoes

Posted by Nuttapon_S On March - 14 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Calls on her adversaries to ease off, give her side some ‘space to stand’

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, facing an impeachment threat and the court defeat of her Bt2-trillion infrastructure loan bill, yesterday pleaded with her political adversaries to show her mercy and create a space for everyone to live together instead of trying to corner her with legal weapons.

“If you are going to use laws to hunt us down every day, how can we find peace in this country?” she asked with a strained voice.

She was responding to a move by Democrat Party heavyweight Jurin Laksanawisit to solicit 20,000 signatures to launch impeachment proceedings against her and her caretaker Cabinet.

Yingluck spoke to reporters while on a trip to Khon Kaen, before flying to Chiang Mai later in the day.

“I ask for sympathy but that does not mean I will not follow the law. I respect the court’s ruling. What we should be seeking is unity among Thai people and a way to strike a balance so we can live together.

“We are all Thais and should leave space for everyone in society to live together. If you keep hunting us down until we have no space to stand, then those who are bullied will fight back. We don’t want this vicious cycle, which has been repeating itself for the past seven to eight years. Are we going to continue like this?

“This cycle will not end. If we have compassion and forgiveness and leave space for others to stand, I believe the checks and balances in society will condemn those who have bad intentions. They won’t be able to live in society. This is better than using legal tools and procedures to create deep divisions,” she said.

As for calls for her to take responsibility for the Bt2-trillion loan project, Yingluck said she would assign her deputyPongthep Thepkanjana and legal teams to look into the issue since she had not received a written version of the ruling.

Despite the setbacks, resorting to heavy-handed measures against anti-government protesters and her political rivals would not bring about solutions.

“What would we gain from using such measures? Using drastic measures means using force or enforcing the law – neither way is good for the country.

“Today people have no fear of the law. Those who follow the law cannot survive, while those who cross the line can. If this is the case, how can we move on?” she said.

Questions independent agencies

While it might appear that independent organisations were not being fair to the government, she said she would like to ask for understanding since the government had good intentions.

She pointed out that the rally at the Commerce Ministry by anti-government protesters yesterday was an example of how the government was finding it difficult to pay farmers for their pledged rice.

“Today we can’t proceed with the rice distribution, even though it’s lawful. It is obstructed, so how can farmers receive their money? If it becomes a legal case, the money won’t be paid to farmers because the case will still be in progress. We will have to wait till it’s finished. That means farmers will get paid even later,” she said.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said he felt sorry for Yingluck, pointing out that though she has recently been seen with tears in her eyes, it did not indicate that she was weak.

He said her eyes were brimming out of frustration, adding that she never complains of being disheartened but instead lends moral support to her fellow Pheu Thai members.

Senators seek court ruling on PM Yingluck’s status

Posted by Nuttapon_S On March - 10 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

BANGKOK, March 10 – A group of 27 senators today petitioned the speaker of the Senate seeking a ruling from the Constitution Court as to whether caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has violated the Constitution which could result in the termination of her caretaker status.

Ms Yingluck was accused of breaching the charter by unlawfully transferring the then National Security Council (NSC) secretary general Thawil Pliensri to another position in 2011

The Supreme Administrative Court last week ruled that the premier’s transfer order was unlawful and Mr Thawil must be reinstated to his position within 45 days.

In the petition signed by 27 senators, they stated that the premier may have violated Article 268 of the Constitution and that could cause her disqualification from the country’s top job.

Article 268 of the Constitution stipulates that the prime minister cannot interfere in transferring or removing of government officials for personal gain, of herself, others or political parties directly or indirectly.

The Constitution Court ruled that the prime ministerial order for removal of the NSC chief in 2011 was unlawful as the premier had acted in an inappropriate manner and that was not in line with the government’s policy statement delivered to Parliament.

Second deputy senate speaker Anan Ariyachaipanich received the petition on behalf of Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich. He said the verification process will not be long and the petition will be forwarded to the Senate Speaker and the Constitution Court respectively. (MCOT online news)

Caretaker PM Yingluck says separatism impossible

Posted by Nuttapon_S On March - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
BANGKOK, Mar 3 – Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today reasserted her opposition to dividing Thailand and called on all factions to avoid violating the law.
She said the army could investigate allegations against the red shirt idea of separatism but it must probe all factions to ensure justice.
The interim premier was referring to an order by Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha to the Third Region Army Command to file charges of separatism against the red shirt Sor Por Por Lanna group.
Gen Prayuth sent out the order in his capacity as deputy commander of the Internal Security Operations Command, thus not requiring him to report to Ms Yingluck who is concurrently caretaker defence minister.
Ms Yingluck said the government did not advocate separatism and believed that such a move would not take place.
“Separatism must be launched by a major movement, not by a particular group. We have to investigate if there is such a movement,” she said.
Asked if she would warn red shirt activists for such an activity, Ms Yingluck said every wrongdoing faction, not only the red shirts, must be warned and the army is welcome to check but it must check every group for fairness and equality.
She said she has yet to monitor the situation given the relocation of rallies to Lumpini Park to determine if the state of emergency would be revoked.
The Centre for Mainintaing Peace and Order and security officials will assess the situation before a decision is made, said the caretaker premier.
She said police were ordered to investigate the use of explosives and war weapons in attacks which have occurred daily. (MCOT online news)

Suthep calls for live TV talks with Yingluck

Posted by Nuttapon_S On February - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has challenged Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to one-on-one talks broadcast live on television in a bid to end the political deadlock.

The caretaker PM responded to yesterday’s challenge with a condition – she would meet with Suthep if he ended anti-government protests and allowed the uncompleted national election to go ahead.

“If Khun Yingluck really wants to find a solution through talks, I ask her to make an appointment for a one-on-one meeting with me in an open setting,” Suthep told reporters. “The talks should be broadcast live on TV so that the people know what is going on.”

Suthep, secretary general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, said the talks should be for the good of the country and not for personal benefit.

He said he would not take part in them if former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra benefited.

The veteran politician had earlier said he would only talk to Thaksin, Yingluck’s elder brother, whom he accused of being behind rampant corruption and abuse of power.

Suthep leads a protest movement that aims to bring down the so-called Thaksin regime.

Yingluck said she was in favour of negotiations if they were constitutional.

She asked Suthep whether he was ready to end the protest to pave the way for the election.

“Something important that everyone wants is an end to the protests and the election to go ahead,” she said from Chiang Mai.

“If not, we can’t tell the world community how we will maintain democracy.

“This is the main point we have to stick to. I agree in principle to peaceful negotiation.”

PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said the prime minister should not have placed a condition on the talks going ahead if she was sincere. “It seems she does not want the talks to happen,” he said.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party accused Suthep of having ulterior motives for demanding one-on-one talks broadcast live.

“In principle, such talks must be held in secret,” Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said.

“Suthep’s offer looks as though he wants to have a political debate broadcast live on TV. This would create more problems than lead to a solution.”

International organisations yesterday voiced support for talks between both sides.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon again offered to help find a solution to the political crisis. He “expresses his readiness to assist Thailand and the Thai people in any way possible”, his spokesman said.

Ban’s statement came shortly after caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said he would seek the UN secretary-general’s assistance. Surapong said he had spoken with Ban to discuss ways out of the political crisis.

Ban has offered his assistance to Thailand on several occasions – including during separate talks with Yingluck and former opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva – to end the worsening political violence, which has claimed at least 22 lives including four children.

His spokesman quoted Ban as urging the warring parties to engage in dialogue as soon as possible in a meaningful and inclusive way while advancing genuine reform.

Meanwhile, the European Union joined other international bodies in expressing deep concern over the situation in Thailand, saying the death of young children was particularly disturbing.

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressed her deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.

She called on all stakeholders involved in the conflict to act with the utmost restraint to prevent any further violence.

“She reiterates her urgent call for a dialogue leading to a lasting political solution based on democratic principles,” Ashton’s spokesman said.