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Boonjong forecasts parliamentary storm over amnesty, infrastructure bills

Parliament will inevitably be split by conflicts when it reconvenes in August, warned Bhum Jai Thai Party deputy leader Boonjong Wongtrairat yesterday.

Nakhon Ratchasima MP Boonjong said two big issues set to be debated in Parliament made conflict "100 per cent" certain.

He warned that debate on the various draft amnesty bills would be most explosive, adding that the ruling Pheu Thai Party should not think that just because they enjoyed a majority voice they could simply slam their bill through. If the government wanted society to move ahead, it should not bring such divisive issues to the table, said Boonjong, adding that even Pheu Thai knew deep down this would bring a fresh round of major conflict.

Besides the amnesty bill tabled by Pheu Thai MP Vorachai Haema, another version forwarded by the so-called Relatives of the April May 2010 Martyrs would also prove controversial and divisive, said Boonjong, though he acknowledged the House had a duty to consider all proposed bills. He said that the only major difference between the two versions was that the latter focuses primarily on granting amnesty to ordinary protesters, and not leaders. He said Vorachai's version would be debated first as scheduled.

The other controversial issue set for debate, said Boonjong, was the proposed Bt2-trillion infrastructure loan bill. He said the bid to have the legislation passed would likely end up in the Constitution Court, where the draft bill would probably be ruled unconstitutional.

In a related development, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that the Yingluck Shinawatra administration should open the new parliamentary session by presenting a review of its work in power over the past 12 months, before attending to any other business. Speaking on the Blue Sky Television channel, Democrat Party leader Abhisit said MPs would then have the opportunity to express their views regarding the government's work. He added that debate on the national budget should also take priority over consideration of the various draft amnesty bills, which should be placed lower down the schedule. This, he said, would help avert political confrontation.

Abhisit said that in considering the different bills being tabled, people should ask themselves who stands to benefit from the proposed amnesty they contain. He said it might be best for the government to hold a wide-ranging public discussion about the issues first, before the House debated the matter.




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