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Friday, January 4, 2008

Thai Election Goes to the Supreme Court

Supreme Court considers PPP fate

By Supawadee Inthawong and Penchan Charoensuthipan

Bangkok Post

If the court rules against the PPP, its plans to form a coalition government will collapse, and the party will be dissolved.

Plans to set up a coalition government led by the People Power party (PPP) are hanging by a thread after the Supreme Court's Election Section agreed to rule on whether the PPP is a nominee of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party.

The court has decided to consider all four points in a petition lodged by Democrat candidate Chaiwat Sinsuwong. The first hearing is scheduled for Jan 15.

Mr Chaiwat has accused the PPP of being a nominee of the TRT, which was dissolved last year by the Constitution Tribunal.

He has also demanded that advance votes on Dec 15-16 and the Dec 23 polls be nullified.

In the petition, he has asked the court to rule whether the PPP was qualified to field candidates in the Dec 23 general election, if its leader Samak Sundaravej was eligible to endorse party candidates, if advance votes on Dec 15-16 and the Dec 23 polls were valid and if the distribution of VCDs of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra were illegal.

Mr Chaiwat said yesterday that he would be the first to take the witness stand and prove the allegations against the PPP.

"I will present evidence to show that the PPP is undoubtedly a nominee of the TRT. The EC's endorsement of the PPP as a political party is illegitimate and the PPP is not qualified to contest the polls," he said. Democrat member Virat Kalayasiri said it was not hard to find proof to back up the charges against the PPP.


Abhisit should be ashamed of himself. During the entire campaign we heard him say how he wanted to defeat PPP through an election. Now that the Democrats have lost, his minions want to have the entire election thrown out because PPP is really Thai Rak Thai in disguise.

Funny how the Democrats are now going after the PPP in the courts only after they lost. Where were these arguments before the election?

Seriously, would the Democrats have the PPP dissolved on these issues if they had won the election. The same principles apply, don't they?

Now, some Thaksin haters will say, "Well, Abhisit isn't the one going to the Supreme Court with this."

OK, let me destroy this dopey argument.

1. If Abhisit and the party leadership are not behind this move, then why are they allowing to be embarrassed by one of their members? This lawsuit basically contradicts Abhisit stance that the Democrats only want to win at the ballot box. If this was such a major constitutional issue, why hasn't an NGO brought it forward instead of the Democrat Party?

2. Many of the Thaksin haters believe that Thaksin is the root of all evil because he was the leader of the party; therefore, he was responsible for everything on his watch and during his tenure, whether he knew about it or not.

Well, the same argument can be made here. If Thaksin was responsible for everything, then Abhisit is responsible here as well, considering his cronies are the ones who want the election to be decided in the Supreme Court.

My personal feelings about this are mixed.

I don't want the election to be decided by the Supreme Court. I don't trust the Supreme Court, especially one chosen by the military.

Yet, I don't believe that PPP should get a free pass if it actually did something wrong.

The problem for me is that the courts and the bureaucracy are so corrupt it is impossible to trust either to be fair and impartial about these things.

Thailand Crisis says that this a "legal coup in the making." He might be right.

6 comments:

Red and White said...

I strongly dislike the PPP, but I am disgusted by what is happening. All these supposedly independent bodies that are notoriously slow and corrupt have suddenly become ultra efficient in finding PPP members guilty of vote buying. The Supreme Court has suddenly NOW decided it will hear the case against PPP. It’s a sham. The people have chosen PPP, let them get what they ask for. Let them learn.

It’s risky for the courts too. If they dissolve PPP, the elite get what they want but will the rural masses and the rest of the electorate accept such a rape of their rights?

Do you think they will go through with this Fonzi? It’s a tough call I think.

fall said...

I think the court would rule "not guilty", due to insufficient evidence.
Unless there is a definite money trail, all the claim and picture posing are celebrity endorsement and hear say. It would not even make sense to nullify the election because PPP have ex-TRT backing, much less dissolve it.
To quote the word of famous general "I ordered it, but there was no budget for it. Hence, it had not been commence."

will the rural masses...accept such a rape of their rights?

With the current king still living, yes.
Think of it in term of herr general. This is their last shot for all-out power war. With ex-TRT still in limbo, there would not be that much legitimate fallout. And without the current king, there would definitely be riot. So, now or never.

IMO, it would be the EC issuing red and yellow that is their best bet. Destabilize the coalition. Protest? Coup. Rinse and repeat.
The second dissolution is their last resort to be use, yet.

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hobby said...

IMO there's not much doubt that PPP is a nominee for the banned TRT executives, but proving it in a legal sense might be difficult unless there is a clear money trail.

That said, I think the case would be further complicated by the fact the EC approved PPP before the election, and has since endorsed most of it's winning candidates.

For once I agree with Fonzi and Red & White, and would like to see (1) PPP form a government, which is (2) held accountable by 'rule of law' rather than the usual 'rule by law'.(I know, it's wishful thinking on both counts!)

In case you were wondering, Fonzi, I'm still a Thaksin hater, but not only for the usual reasons - Thaksin was probably the best chance to shake up in Thailand and change things for the better - he did some good things, some bad things, but overall he blew it with his greed & arrogance which gave impetus to the old elites trying to bring him down.

Jotman said...

One question is whether disbanding of the PPP would trigger a new election. If it does, do you suppose candidates from parties sympathetic to the coup-makers would be punished by the electorate (more severely this time more than last time)? If this seems likely, I'm guessing Prem's strategy would be to hold a hundred by-elections rigged against candidates with ties to PPP/Thaksin, rather than risk losing what they've already won.

Electorally, how far would the likes of Red and White and Hobby go to show their disapproval if the PPP was disbanded? Are there lots of Thais who were sympathetic to the coup, but would be outraged to the extent of changing their votes next time?

hobby said...

Jotman: I'm not entitled to vote, and personally I doubt whether anyone would change their vote in the way you hope, because a voter would have to have been living under a rock not to have a firm opinion by now.

To clarify my previous post, I have no problem at all with a Democrat bringing the PPP nominee case to the Supreme Court, as he is quite entitled to do so, and it is up to the courts to either accept or reject the case on the basis of the law (and publish sound reasons for their decision).

Also, don't forget that Thaksin probably should never have been let off the 2001 asset concealment case if proper legal principles were upheld.
(And also don't forget the hundreds or thousands of drug war victims who never even had a chance at a day in court, thanks to Thaksin)

Instead of Democrat voters switching to PPP, I actually see just as much chance that some PPP voters will eventually come to the realization that the Democrats are not the junta (despite the PPP smears), and in fact represent the best chance that the country can get over the 'for or against Thaksin' split.

It should be obvious that it is only by default that the old conservative elites appear to favor the Democrats, because they think they will leave some room for them, whilst PPP/TRT want to take all the spoils of government for themselves.