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06BANGKOK3348 THAI POLITICAL UPDATE: SUPREME COURT DISSES ELECTION COMMISSION

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“66382”,”6/2/2006 9:32″,”06BANGKOK3348″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”06BANGKOK3277″,

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DEPT FOR EAP/MLS

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2016

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, TH

SUBJECT: THAI POLITICAL UPDATE: SUPREME COURT DISSES

ELECTION COMMISSION

 

REF: BANGKOK 03277

 

Classified By: ACTING POLITICAL COUNSELOR JAMES F. COLE. REASON 1.4 (B,

D)

 

1. (C) Summary. The deadlock over the much-maligned Election

Commission (EC) worsened June 1, with the Supreme Court

refusing to appoint two new EC members. Instead, the Supreme

Court President, in a public letter, called the EC unfit for

office. A group of former Senators are preparing to petition

the Constitutional Court to remove the EC from office. The

EC remains in reality-avoidance mode, as questions over the

preparations for the October 15 vote swirl about. One of the

lawsuits against Prime Minister Thaksin has been dismissed.

Defense Minister Thammarak is getting the cold shoulder from

his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) colleagues despite his statements of

innocence in the videotape scandal (ref). End Summary.

 

PRESSURE INCREASES FOR EC TO RESIGN

———————————–

 

2. (SBU) The Supreme Court announced on June 1 that it will

not move to fill the two vacancies on the controversial

Election Commission (EC) and called the current EC unfit for

office. Supreme Court President Chanchai Likhitjitha

rejected the request by former Senate Speaker Suchon

Chaleekrua to appoint two new EC members. According to a

publicly leaked letter from Chanchai to Suchon, the Court

voted 72 to 4 against the appointments, which would have

given the EC a new lease on life. (Note. The EC lacks the

four members needed for a quorum following the death and

resignation, separately, of its other two members. End Note.)

The Court President went even further, stating that the

remaining EC members are not politically neutral and not

qualified to fulfill their duties. In a separate move, 37

former Senators have asked Suchon to petition the

Constitutional Court to remove the three EC commissioners

from office, citing their mismanagement of the April 2 vote.

 

BUT EC FOCUSED ON DECK CHAIR ARRANGEMENTS

—————————————–

 

3. (C) The EC, meanwhile, is set to conclude next week its

internal investigation over the leak of an EC report

detailing efforts by a \”big\” political party to pay \”small\”

political parties to participate in the nullified April 2

vote. In a stunning show of cojones, EC Chairman Wassana

Permlap told reporters yesterday that the EC will not

complete the original inquiry into alleged TRT payoffs in the

April 2 vote until a host of cases related to the March

Senate campaign are concluded.

 

COURT DISMISSES (ONE) CASE AGAINST THAKSIN

——————————————

 

4. (SBU) The Administrative Court, meanwhile, has dismissed

the case accusing caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin of

improperly taking leave and then returning to office in early

April. In its decision, the Court stated that it did not

have jurisdiction on this manner, but opened the door to a

new case by saying that the Constitutional Court does.

 

THAMMARAK TWISTS IN THE WIND

—————————-

 

5. (C) Defense Minister Thammarak took to his defense in a

press conference late Tuesday (originally scheduled for

Friday), explaining that he did not meet with representatives

of the \”micro-parties\” at the Ministry, as alleged by the

Democrat Party (ref). According to Thammarak, the person in

the photo that resembles him is actually his photographer.

The Defense Minister challenged reporters to \”blow up his

head\” to confirm this fact. Despite his strong denials,

anonymous TRT officials have been quoted in the press as

saying that Thammarak was on his own, and that his actions

were not sanctioned by the party or PM. A political cartoon

in Krungthep Thurakit captured this perfectly, showing a

rock-climbing Thaksin reaching down to cut the rope

connecting him to Thammarak.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

BANGKOK 00003348 002 OF 002

 

6. (C) While much of the debate over \”solutions\” to the

current political impasse focus on Thaksin\’s future (see

septel on the Ambassador\’s lunch with the PM), the EC remains

the near-term obstacle to resolution. Accused by the

political opposition of favoring TRT in the April 2 vote, the

current EC lacks the quorum–and increasingly the

legitimacy–needed to prepare for the next election; a

contest that the body politic hopes will bring clarity to the

situation. The Supreme Court\’s decision not to revitalize

the panel may not be enough to oust this body. The EC is the

arm of government that starts the formal efforts to dissolve

a political party for wrongdoing. While it is far from clear

that a new commission would agree to begin dissolution

proceedings against TRT, that threat may be enough to inspire

further EC intransigence. Even if the current EC

commissioners stay in office, however, they may have to offer

up a sacrificial lamb to assuage public opinion (and their

survival). Defense Minister Thammarak is beginning to smell

very savory right now.

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 12, 2011 at 4:46 am

Posted in Confidential, Court

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