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06BANGKOK2047 AND NOW THE REAL FUN BEGINS – THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE

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“59431”,”4/5/2006 11:49″,”06BANGKOK2047″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,”VZCZCXRO2916

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2047/01 0951149

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 051149Z APR 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7698

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L

SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002047

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: AND NOW THE REAL FUN BEGINS – THAILAND POLITICAL

UPDATE

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 2005 – THAKSIN SAYS: \”I WON\”

 

B. BANGKOK 1546 – DELPHIC ORACLES AND BLACK MAGIC

C. BANGKOK 1872 – PALACE REITERATES – LEAVE ME OUT

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce for reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY. Thaksin\’s decision to step down as Prime

Minister is a major step toward resolving the current

political crisis, but a host of technical obstacles still

remain. These issues revolve primarily around the ability to

seat a new House of Representatives. With Thaksin\’s

departure, one major hurdle has been overcome. The question

now is whether the various camps can bridge their serious

differences to find creative solutions to these remaining

obstacles. END SUMMARY.

 

FILLING CONSTITUENCY-BASED SEATS

——————————–

 

2. (SBU) The first challenge to overcome in the wake of

Thaksin\’s announcement is finding a way to seat a new House

of Representatives. Following the April 2 elections, 39

constituency-based seats remained vacant, most of them in the

south and most of them because of the 20 percent rule. The

Election Commission (EC) had initially announced a second

round of elections to be held on Sunday, April 9 (see Reftel

A). Shortly before Thaksin made his address to the nation

yesterday, the EC ruled that it would allow new candidates to

register for the vacant seats and that it would postpone the

second round of elections until Sunday, April 23.

Registration for candidates will be open from April 8-9.

 

3. (C) The Democrat party is still considering whether it

should challenge the EC decision to allow new candidates to

enter the race. There is some debate that the decision may

violate the Election Law. Regardless, the Democrats (who are

traditionally strong in 38 of the 39 open constituencies)

made clear today that they will not register candidates for

the second round. This means that Thai Rak Thai (TRT) will

need to look for other parties to field candidates in those

38 districts in order to avoid the pitfall of running

uncontested again (see Reftel A). (Note: the other two

opposition parties that formed an alliance with the

Democrats, Chart Thai and Mahachon, have yet to announce

whether they will register candidates for the April 23

election. End note.) It is also conceivable that TRT will bow

out of some constituencies and look for two smaller parties

to register candidates. But to reiterate: getting additional

candidates is critical, because it is widely assumed that any

TRT candidate running unopposed will not succeed in breaking

the 20 percent threshold.

 

FILLING THE PARTY-LIST SEATS

—————————-

 

4. (C) The next snag is that one of the 100 party-list seats

will likely remain open once the constituency seats are

filled. In order to win a party-list seat, a political party

must receive at least 5 percent of the total nationwide vote.

At this point, TRT is the only party to reach this mark;

none of the other parties fielding party-list candidates are

even close. The problem is that TRT only has 99 candidates

registered on its party-list. It originally registered 100

candidates, but one member left TRT after registration closed

in order to join the monastery (see Reftel B). Since TRT

only has 99 candidates registered, one of the 100 seats will

remain vacant.

 

5. (C) To date, the EC has announced no plans to reopen

registration for party-list candidates. Sources within the

EC inform us that in the event one of these seats remains

vacant after all the constituency seats are filled, the EC

will petition the Constitutional Court (CC) to allow the

House of Representatives to be seated with only 499 members.

This would challenge a precedent set by the CC in 2001 when

it ruled that the Senate could not be seated until all 200

members were elected (see Reftel C). However, Justice

Nopadol Hengjareon, a judge on the CC, told Polcouns today

that the court might rule differently on this occasion.

(Note: One possible line of reasoning: the 2001 ruling

pertained to Senate seats which are constituency-based.

Since party-list seats do not represent constituencies of

voters, the CC might rule that the House could be seated

without the full complement of party-list members. End note.)

 

PAD\’s PETITION TO ANNUL THE ELECTION

————————————

 

BANGKOK 00002047 002 OF 002

 

6. (U) On April 3, the People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)

filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court to

have the April 2 elections nullified, claiming that the EC

had violated voter privacy (see Reftel A). The complaint is

based on an EC directive to reposition voting booths in a way

that made it possible for poll officials and members of the

public to see how voters marked their ballots. This petition

is working its way through the Administrative Court. Also on

April 3, the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)

submitted a similar complaint to the United Nations High

Commissioner for Human Rights. The ANFREL complaint alleged

that the EC violated Article 21 of the UN Declaration of

Human Rights which guarantees the right to vote in privacy.

Thus far, UNHCHR has not issued a public response.

 

7. (C) COMMENT: In the wake of Thaksin\’s resignation, it

remains unclear whether the opposition groups will reconcile

to working together with TRT to overcome these technical

obstacles to seating a parliament that will be of limited

duration. The imperative of reaching some accommodation in

advance of the King\’s coronation anniversary in June may

induce sufficient compromise. This is more than a technical

or academic issue: the new parliament will produce the new

administration, and together they will be charged with coming

up with new rules for the next round of elections – the only

hope, really, to break the current cycle of paralysis and

confrontation. End Comment.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 7:38 am

Posted in Confidential, Election

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