Cabinet reshuffle or house dissolution ปรับครม หรือ ยุบสภา

10 07 2008

Recent court verdicts saw a few senior members of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and its coalition For Motherland party falling down the drain.

Supreme Courtís Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions found ex-deputy leader of PPP Yongyuth Tiyapairat, contested in Chiang Rai’s constituency 3, guilty in electoral fraud case from last yearís general election. The court ruling would have a tremendous affect on the future of the PPP because Yongyuth was an executive member when the alleged electoral fraud took place. This could lead to dissolution of PPP, led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

A day later, Constitution Court disqualified Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsab from ministerial post after he failed to properly report his wife’s shareholding in a company before the 30-day assets deadline.

Article 269 of the constitution stipulates that a minister, his or her spouse, and children under legal age who intend to hold stock should inform the NCCC within 30 days of the minister’s appointment to the cabinet.

Mr Chaiya took office on February 6. His wife Churai has 25,000 shares, worth 2.5 million baht, in the company, which is half of the total share issue. This is in excess of the 5% legal limit.

On the same day, the Supreme Court ordered arrest former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame after he failed to appear on corruption charges in a wastewater treatment scam.

On 8 July 2008, the Constitution Court ruled that Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama violated the constitution by signing the joint communique with Phnom Penh on 18 June 2008 over Preah Vihear temple without submitting the agreement to parliament.

Article 190 says any decisions which could affect Thai national sovereignty must be considered by parliament.

The decision came less than a day after the World Heritage Committee approved the application to list the 11th century temple as a World Heritage site.

So it seems the government is facing political deadlock and there are not many viable options for them to take.

1. Scenario 1: PM Samak submits resignation and pave way for a new nominee of Thaksin Shinawatra or Banharn Silapa-archa, Chart Thai party or Abhisit Vejjajiva, Democract leader or a non-elected prime minister.

2. Scenario 2: Dissolve parliament and call for a snap election

3. Scenario 3: Drag on and pretends to run business as usual. But how long he can hold on to this government.

– He will soon face with a constitutional court case for hosting TV programme

– He also faces a libel case filed against him by former Bangkok deputy govenor Samart Ratchapolsitte in the Appeal court. The Criminal court sentenced him to two years in jail.

Time is ticking and it is against Samak himself and his government. The PPP government is buying time as public confidence in the party has eroded folliwng the court verdict on the cabinet approval of the Joint Communique on the Phrea Vihear temple. Samak and his ministers do not dare to dissolve the house now becuase they are unsure if the party can regain the same majority if snap election called. People in Northeastern provinces are very unhappy with the Joint Communique and are asking the Foreign Minister and the cabinet to be responsible. This explains why Samak has always insisted that he will never back down as he can not.

Scenario 1 is illusionary. Samak can never step down – he has been fighting for this position for all his political life and he will hold on to it no matter what.

Scenario 2 is viable and advisable but may not be desirable because of the uncertainty as mentioned above.

Scenario 3 is viable and is likely to be taken by Samak. The more he fights the more he ties all the messy ropes around him. When he wakes up he might already be in jail. He has criticised the judicial as too excessive power. But without it, there will be nothing left for the Thais to rely on.

In latest poll carried out by Suan dusit, 28% say they want a cabinet reshuffle and 25% want a new government. But i doubt if our Prime Minister Samak will listen to what people want. He has never taken public criticism seriously.


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