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06BANGKOK3586 KING CELEBRATIONS FINISH; RETURN TO POLITICS AS USUAL

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“68108”,”6/15/2006 11:00″,”06BANGKOK3586″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”05BANGKOK7197″,

“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 SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003586

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/14/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH, Thai Political Updates

SUBJECT: KING CELEBRATIONS FINISH; RETURN TO POLITICS AS

USUAL

 

REF: 05 BANGKOK 07197

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton, reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The three remaining Election Commissioners

face continued pressure to step down. If, as appears likely,

they are finally forced out, it should take a minimum of

several weeks to replace them. Several sources have

speculated that the elections are therefore unlikely to take

place in October, and could slip even into early next year.

In the latest addition to the growing array of lawsuits, PM

Thaksin has sued the Democrat Party for calling him a

\”blood-sucking demon;\” he sued several newspapers as well for

publishing the slur. End summary.

 

ELECTIONS DELAYED FURTHER?

————————–

 

2. (C) Several sources are predicting that elections will

not be held in October, as proposed by the current

(embattled) Election Commission. If the remaining three

Election Commissioners are forced to resign, it could take

several weeks, at least, to replace them. The current

presumption is that one of the high courts would function as

a nominating committee, to prepare a list of qualified

candidates. The \”old\” Senate (which is still on the payroll,

until all 200 \”new\” Senate members are approved by the EC)

would then elect the 5 winners. Even if accelerated, this

process will take some time, at least several weeks. One

source (a former TRT MP who has left the party) expects the

vote to be delayed until January.

 

3. (C) Even TRT may be edging away from the vilified

Election Commissioners. Minister to the PM\’s Office Suranand

Vejjajiva told the press on June 14 that the commissioners

should consider resigning, in order to promote greater public

harmony. He also noted that the elections might be delayed

beyond the proposed October 15 date, but the important thing

was for the elections to be fair and reflect the will of the

people. At a dinner with the Ambassador on June 14, the

Health Minister (a TRT member) predicted that the Election

Commissioners would have to step down. The Minister also

predicted that Thaksin would not return as PM in the new

government, whenever that was finally formed.

 

LAWSUIT ROUND-UP

—————-

 

4 (C) With the celebrations of the King\’s 60th anniversary

over, it\’s time for Thai politicians to return to the

national pastime of filing complaints against each other.

Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin filed a lawsuit with the

Criminal Court against the Democrat Party for defamation and

three Thai language newspapers (Matichon, Khao Sod and Daily

News) for publishing the Democrats\’ accusations. (The

Democrats accused the PM of being a \”blood-sucking demon.\”

We note that this is the second time that Thaksin has sued

someone for calling him a demon – reftel.) Thaksin is

seeking 800 million Baht (usdols 21 million) in damages.

 

5. (C) 20 \”caretaker\” senators prepared a petition urging

the Constitutional court to remove Thaksin from office. They

repeat an argument making the rounds recently, that Thaksin\’s

premiership expired when he took his leave of absence after

the elections. They argue that his statements and actions at

that time (such as his dramatic and televised clearing out of

all his personal effects from his office) demonstrated an

\”intention to resign.\” It appears that the petition will

have to be forwarded to the Court through caretaker Senate

speaker Suchon, however, who is a TRT ally and may find a way

to block it. Based on the press reports, the arguments appear

weak, but the case is another headache for the PM to handle.

 

6. (C) Democrat Party leader Abhisit and SecGen Sutheep faced

questioning by the EC on June 14. In May, TRT filed a

complaint with the EC accusing the Democrats of trying to

overthrow democracy by: calling for the King to appoint a PM

under Article 7; boycotting the elections; and campaigning

for a \”no\” vote. TRT also alleged the Democrats hired

microparties to \”frame\” TRT (itself accused of paying off

several microparties to run in the election so TRT could

avoid the 20 percent minimum vote requirement for unopposed

parties.) So far, there is no sign that TRT or the EC has

any evidence to support the contention that the Democrats

hired the microparties, a charge that would be damaging, if

true. The other allegations do not appear to pose a

significant threat to the Democrats.

 

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 12, 2011 at 4:52 am

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