Decision day for PM edging closer

national May 06, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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EC to draft election decree, as Abhisit presents report and court hearing begins

Many political players and stakeholders will make moves today in the rush to reach a solution to end the unrest that has loomed large over the country for months. The Election Commission will prepare the draft for a royal decree to call another election.

Opposition party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will submit to the commission his plan to delay the poll and install a non-elected interim government. 

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the protesters and all other political parties will also receive the plan in detail and have been asked to act on their parts in the plan.
EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said that if the five-member commission agreed on the election decree, it would be submitted to the Cabinet without delay. The EC and the government last week agreed to schedule July 20 as the election date.
The EC members would also consider Abhisit’s idea to break the political impasse, he said. 
Abhisit asked the EC to change some laws and regulations to have harsher penalties for electoral fraud and prohibit populist poll campaigns. 
Abhisit’s plan requires political parties wishing to run in the next election to promise to support national reform and the next government would stay in power for only one year to carry out reform.
The Democrat Party leader on Saturday announced his plan which, if accepted, would mean the election set for July 20 would be postponed. He also asked Yingluck to step down, and asked for her answer before the Constitutional Court announces its ruling on her status.
On the legal front, the Constitutional Court scheduled today for witnesses to testify in the case involving National Security Chief Thawil Pliensri’s removal. 
The witnesses include Thawil, Senator Paiboon Nititawan – who brought the case to the court, former national police chief Wichean Potephosree – who replaced Thawil, and Yingluck. It is uncertain when the court will give its ruling.
NACC ruling on Yingluck soon
Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigation team will today conclude and submit to the NACC commissioners its report on Yingluck’s alleged negligence relating to the government’s rice-pledging scheme. It is expected the NACC will decide whether to indict Yingluck on Thursday at the earliest and May 15 at the latest.
If Yingluck is indicted, she must be suspended from work.
The ruling Pheu Thai Party’s spokesman Prompong Nopparit said his party would meet to consider Ahbisit’s 10-step roadmap today. Pheu Thai key members claim that the plan goes against the charter.
Mahidol University peace expert Gothom Arya urged Pheu Thai Party and other groups not to fully reject Abhisit’s proposals, pointing out three points at least that all sides should be able to accept and uphold.
They are the rejection of violence, forging change in a constitutional manner and solving the crisis without dragging the monarchy into it.
Abhisit should not consider his proposals as written in stone but should be satisfied if some of the 10 points were accepted, Gothom said.
Separately, the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) massed yesterday afternoon in front of the statue of King Rama VI in Lumpini Park, their rally site, before marching to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, next to the Grand Palace. 
PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban led people to make a vow, offer flowers and light candles at the temple in honour of the King’s coronation before leading supporters, in the coming days on what he called “the final fight”.
Next Tuesday, Suthep and the PDRC will perform a ceremony to rid the Kingdom of evils. It will fall on Visakha Puja Day, with the group’s declared “last battle” beginning the following day.