March 13, 2014 00:00 By ATTAYUTH BOOTSRIPOOM attayuth
THE PEOPLE'S Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leaders and their supporters seem to be under the illusion that they have gained the upper hand and are on the way to victory in the lengthy struggle to oust the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra government.
The PDRC is confident that it will soon achieve its mission to have a PM appointed under the Constitution’s Article 7, as it believes the government is going to be dealt heavy blows by independent organisations. It also believes the caretaker government has lost the support of the international community.
The PDRC’s conceit is not surprising as courts and independent agencies have not done anything that could benefit the government camp. On the contrary, strictures have been passed against the government, starting with the Civil Court which may have ruled against the lifting of the state of emergency but still slapped nine restrictions on the government’s imposition of the harsh law. The restrictions, which render the emergency decree meaningless, may force the government to replace the harsh law with the Internal Security Act.
The public perception is that the Constitutional Court is an adversary of the government, especially after several rulings on charter amendment were not in favour of the government camp. Furthermore, the court also ruled that the PDRC rally was a peaceful protest, leading to the Civil Court’s clamping of nine restrictions on the government.
Soon to come is the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s decision on pressing dereliction of duty charges against caretaker PM Yingluck over the corruption plagued rice-pledging scheme that has led to a massive financial loss to the state.
Judging from the severity of the charges, it is likely that the agency will indict her, which would result in the caretaker PM being suspended from duty, pending legal procedures.
The PDRC believes this will cause the government’s demise, leading to a political vacuum and paving the way for a government appointed by the People’s Council.
However, deeper scrutiny of the issues will show that the rice-pledging scheme may not bring down the government as believed by the PDRC.
If Yingluck is suspended from duty so what? Even if she is impeached in the rice-pledging scheme, how is that going to bring about political changes, as her legal issues have nothing to do with the caretaker government?
Even though Yingluck may not be able to carry out her duties, she has deputies to replace her, unlike in normal circumstances where the whole Cabinet would face dismissal when the PM is removed from the post.
Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul is likely to take over as caretaker PM if that is the case.
If the whole Cabinet has to go because of legal complications as interpreted by some legal experts, it still will not pave the way for an appointed government.
The Administrative Directives Act has plugged such legal loopholes by stipulating that permanent secretaries can carry out the duties of the caretaker government.
There is no legal avenue for an appointed government under Article 7, unless the law is interpreted differently.
Although the PDRC believes that the military does not back the government, the truth is the military is not siding with it either.
Besides, the world community has continuously voiced support for the election and may not be in favour of the PDRC as it tries to convince other people.
In addition, the number of anti-government protesters has also dropped dramatically, as the rally has become a long drawn out battle.
PDRC chief Suthep Thaugsuban should stop deceiving himself and seize the opportunity to urgently hold talks with the government to iron out their differences.