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Govt may put amnesty law on back burner

The future of a proposed amnesty law has become uncertain as the government is likely to focus on the Budget Bill for fiscal 2014 and the draft law empowering the Finance Ministry to borrow Bt2 trillion to fund infrastructure mega-projects when the next Parliament session begins on August 1.

PM's Office Minister and Deputy Agriculture Minister Varathep Ratanakorn told yesterday's Cabinet meeting that the government's priorities during the

next parliamentary session would be those two laws, Deputy Government Spokesperson Sunisa Lertpakawat said. The Cabinet had its retreat meeting in Ayutthaya. Sunisa said yesterday that the Budget Bill was expected to be tabled for the second and third parliamentary readings on August 14 and 15.

Coalition whips will meet next Wednesday to discuss the order of issues to be tabled for House deliberations at the new parliamentary session, according to Sunisa. Other issues include constitutional amendment and the amnesty law.

Varathep, who acts as adviser to the coalition whips, told the Cabinet meeting that the government "will have a lot of work to do in Parliament" when it reconvenes next month, according to the deputy spokesperson.

The issue of amnesty law has come under media spotlight ahead of the new parliamentary session. This followed a mysterious audio clip recording a conversation between two political figures about ways to issue an amnesty law for someone believed to be former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party has also faced increased pressure from a group of relatives of red-shirt protesters killed or injured during the political unrest in 2010. The group plans to submit its draft amnesty law next Wednesday, with focus on seeking amnesty for ordinary protesters, as opposed to other drafts by government politicians that would seek amnesty for other groups of people.


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