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06BANGKOK3147 THAKSIN BACK AT HIS DESK

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“65219”,”5/24/2006 8:57″,”06BANGKOK3147″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”06BANGKOK2991″,

“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 003147

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2016

TAGS: PGOV, TH, Thai Political Updates

SUBJECT: THAKSIN BACK AT HIS DESK

 

REF: BANGKOK 2991 AND PREVIOUS

 

Classified By: ACTING POLITICAL COUNSELOR JAMES COLE.

REASON: 1.4 (D)

 

1. (SBU) Summary: Prime Minister Thaksin returned to chair

the weekly Tuesday Cabinet meeting at Government House on May

23. This in effect ended the \”political break\” that he began

on April 5. The cabinet members revoked its previous

resolution appointing Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai

Vanasatidya as acting Prime Minister, allowing Thaksin to

reassume his duties as full time Prime Minister. Cries of

\”foul\” are coming from his opponents. Some legal experts

such as law school lecturers and members of the Law Society

of Thailand, who had already filed lawsuits in the Central

Administrative Court to remove Thaksin and his cabinet, are

contending that Thaksin had no legitimacy to return to work

as — in their view — he had already resigned. They claimed

that the letter he submitted to the Cabinet meeting on April

5 constituted a \”letter of resignation\” not a notice of

leave. Street reaction will likely be on hold however.

People\’s Alliance For Democracy (PAD) leader Suriyasai

Katasila, has said that PAD will not launch any major

demonstration until the upcoming 60th anniversary next month

of the King\’s accession to the throne has passed. End

summary.

 

DEPENDS ON WHAT WORDS YOU CHOOSE TO EMPHASIZE

 

2. (C) Thaksin\’s April 5 letter stated that he was \”taking

leave\” until \”a new government is formed.\” While his

supporters say that the Prime Minister is now simply

returning from leave, his critics charge that because a new

government has not been formed, Thaksin is, in effect,

committing a violation by returning to his office. The

Constitution would seem to give Thaksin the legal nod in this

case. In his April 5 letter, Thaksin stated that \”I,

therefore, would like to take a break from performing my

duties as the Prime Minister under Article 215, paragraph two

of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand until the new

Council of Ministers takes office.\” Article 215 states that

\”The outgoing Council of Ministers shall remain in office for

carrying out duties until the newly appointed Council of

Ministers takes office…\” It would appear that Thaksin has

not violated any legal stricture; merely gone back on his

word regarding the circumstances under which he would stay

away. (Note: Ironically, the Lawyers\’ Council had earlier

sued Thaksin for failure to perform his duties. As noted in

previous reporting, the Lawyers\’ Council claimed that while

on leave the PM was essentially \”AWOL,\” collecting a salary

while not actually working. End note.)

STREET DEMONSTRATIONS PROBABLY MUTE FOR NOW

 

3. (U) As for prospects for street protests, PAD is

expected to restart anti-Thaksin demonstration only after the

celebrations of the King\’s accession to the throne are

concluded in June. Suriyasai Katasila, a PAD leader, has

charged that Thaksin had \”perjured\” himself by returning to

the office. According to Suriyasai, PAD will not launch any

major demonstration until the 60th anniversary of the King\’s

accession to the throne has passed, however.

 

AND CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED

 

4. (C) Comment: The political situation has evolved

significantly since Thaksin took his leave from Government

House. On April 5, there was still a cautious belief that a

government would somehow be formed from the results of the

general election three days before. But, on May 8 the Thai

Constitutional Court ruled that the April 2 general elections

were unconstitutional, the results null and that a new

election must be held for the lower house of Parliament.

Since then, one of the four sitting Election Commissioners

has resigned and there is strong pressure on the remaining

three to step down. The election has now been set for late

October. Ominously for Thaksin\’s party, unofficial reports

say that an Election Commission Subcommittee has implicated

TRT executives for the alleged illegal bankrolling of small

parties to contest the April 2 general election (to provide

an \”opposition\” presence in the face of the formal

opposition\’s boycott.). If these TRT officers are found

guilty and if the EC and finally the Constitutional Court

endorse the subcommittee\’s ruling, the TRT would be in danger

of being dissolved. Under these conditions, Thaksin\’s

decision to return to the helm is not surprising.

 

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

Posted in Confidential, Thaksin

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