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06BANGKOK2889 THAILAND UPDATE: ELECTION DATE DEBATED, THAKSIN TO RESUME DUTIES?

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“64202″,”5/16/2006 11:45″,”06BANGKOK2889″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 002889

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH, Thai Political Updates, Elections – Thai

SUBJECT: THAILAND UPDATE: ELECTION DATE DEBATED, THAKSIN TO

RESUME DUTIES?

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton,

reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Election Commission tried to set

October 22 as the date for the new elections, but the leaders

of the three courts rejected the date — and the EC. They

called on the remaining three election commissioners to

resign, as commissioner General Charupat Ruangsuwan did on

May 15. TRT says that that Thaksin is ready to resume his

duties as caretaker prime minister, following his long

\”vacation\” to the US, Europe and Bangkok\’s swankiest shopping

mail and golf courses. The EC is likely to be the next

victim of Thailand\’s political conflict.as pressure mounts

for its resignation. End summary.

 

2. (U) The Election Commission (EC) proposed October 22 as

the date for the new elections. The EC met on May 15 with

representatives of the ruling Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party and

smaller parties to seek their views on the appropriate date;

the three main opposition parties and representatives of the

courts refused to attend. The opposition parties maintain

that the EC lacks the legitimacy to set a new election date,

but also told the press that they had no objection to the

date proposed. This date would give politicians time to

change parties or register a new party. (Candidates must be

members of a party for 90 days before they register as its

candidates.)

 

3. (U) The leaders of the three courts (Constitutional,

Administrative and Supreme) met on May 16 and rejected the

October 22 election date on the technical grounds that the EC

lacked a quorum at Monday\’s meeting. One of the four

commissioners, General Charupat Ruangsuwan, was not present

at the meeting to set the date, and reportedly has resigned

from the EC. The courts again strongly urged the rest of the

EC to resign as well. (If Charupat has resigned, the EC

cannot function. It is supposed to have five members, but

one died before the election. It now requires all four

members for a quorum, and today\’s resignation would leave it

with only three.)

 

4. (C) A Constitutional court judge told Polcouns on May 15

that the EC would surely be forced to step down eventually.

He noted that there were several more court cases pending

involving the EC, and these would provide the opportunity to

ratchet up the pressure. This included the possibility of

criminal charges against the election commissioners. One

(somewhat dramatic) journalist contact said that EC chairman

Wassana Puemlarp was under such stress that he might commit

suicide. (Comment: an extreme prediction, but one that

reflects the high level of very personal attacks particularly

against the EC Chairman, who has vociferously defended all

the EC\’s actions. End comment.)

 

5. (U) TRT held a party meeting today to discuss the

upcoming elections. A TRT representative responded to the

latest in the endless series of political lawsuits before

Thai courts: the Lawyers\’ Council are suing Thaksin for

failure to perform his duties. The Lawyers\’ Council claims

that the PM is essentially AWOL, collecting a salary while

not actually working. TRT replied that Thaksin was ready to

return to work provided that it would not cause divisions in

society.

 

6. (C) COMMENT: The EC is likely to be the next casualty

in Thailand\’s political warfare. The appointment of new

commissioners will be complicated and time-consuming, and

this may render moot any proposal to hold the election sooner

than October, even if there is support for this option.

Thaksin\’s opponents, meanwhile, continue to hammer away at

every chink in the PM\’s armor, piling on lawsuits and other

attacks. Thaksin has remained uncharacteristically quiet

throughout, and TRT has been careful to show deference to the

courts in line with the King\’s speech. This may get tougher

for TRT, as the courts decisions seem to be consistently

running against their interests.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 8:16 am

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