Joint Communique on Preah Vihear: violation of constitution???

29 09 2009

The National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) is going to make a decision on the Preah Vihear case today whether to indict 36 people including ministers of the Samak Sundaravej cabinet and state officials charged in connection with the cabinet approval on June 17 l2008 for Thailand to sign a joint communique with Cambodia without seeking advice from parliament. However, before making any prediction on the outcome, it is important to note that the Constitution Court had earlier ruled that the Preah Vihear joint communique was endorsed by the Samak cabinet in violation of the Constitution.

The joint communique was to support Cambodia’s application to list the ancient Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site. The NACC on Nov 13 2008 decided to press charges against the Samak cabinet members, except four who were absent, for negligence of duty and violation of Article 190 of the 2007 Constitution, and certain state officials for malfeasance. Of the 36, four are members of the current government. They are Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Pattaraprasit, Information and Communication Technology Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee, and Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul.

The decision of today is likely to have an impact on the credibility of the Prime Minister and the Military. Democrat Party and its current Foreign Minister claimed that by signing the Joint Communique Samak government had given up certain Thai territories to Cambodia.  This is similar to the constitutional court decision. I would like to think that NCCC’s decision will go in the same direction IF some of the defendants are not holding positions in the current coalition government.

If they decide that it does not violate the constitution then the decision made by NCCC will overrule the constitutional court decision. It will also tarnish the government credibility since the Prime Minister has insisted until today that Thailand has not lost any territory to Cambodia. It is another interesting day in Thai politics.

New Coalition Government under Democrat Party

8 12 2008

When we hear this news for the first time, it reminds me of the development in Malaysia when its opposition leader claimed to have enough number of lawmakers to form a government. The Malaysian Opposition could not deliver its promise. How about the Thai Opposition Democrat Party?

It sounds so unusual and it is the first time in Thailand to have a number of lawmakers to switch side. The Democrats seem to have the advantage after the fall of Somchai Wongsawat and the dissolution of People’s Power Party. There seems to be on prominent leaders left to take a hot seat of premiership. Even a newly formed political party Puea Thai led by Yongyuth Vichaidit refused to take such a position. Democrat Secretary General held a press conference last Sunday saying with confident that Democrat will form a new coalition government with Abhisit Vejjajiva as a new prime minister. When we were about to believe that this is possible, Puea Thai leader confirmed that it has a new prime minister ready and will submit it to the house this week. This shows its de facto leader Thaksin’s determination to fight and to signal that the game is not over yet for him and his party.

I am not against the idea of switching side but I find it difficult to accept the fact that Democrat has to rely on Newin’s faction for its to form a new government. What happen if they do not vote for Abhisit in the house? Has Democrat prepared to answer when people questioned how much does Democrat offer to Newin’s faction for them to crossover. Democrat has to explain it well to their supporters or risk losing them in the next general election. At risk immediately would be its candidate for Bangkok Governor election in Janauray 2009.

Democrat’s recent move is criticised widely since the development took place after its consultation with the Army Chief. A few of Democrat’s leaders were seen to support People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demonstration that blocked the airports recently. This means that even if their effort in forming a new coalition is successful, they will surely face with the same situation as the previous government -  a mass movement by United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), although the RED demonstration will not be as powerful as the YELLOW movement. It is therefore quite likely that a new coaltion under Democrat Party will be shortlive and can not be sustained for longer than a year or two.