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06BANGKOK4525 ELECTION COMMISSIONER TO ENTER MONKHOOD; ONWARD TO ELECTIONS

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“72628″,”7/26/2006 10:54″,”06BANGKOK4525″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“06BANGKOK4490″,”VZCZCXRO1535

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #4525/01 2071054

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 261054Z JUL 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0489

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC”,”

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 004525

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: ELECTION COMMISSIONER TO ENTER MONKHOOD; ONWARD TO

ELECTIONS

 

REF: BANGKOK 4490

 

Classified By: Charge d\’Affaires a.i. Alex A. Arvizu, reason 1.4 (b) (d

)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Criminal Court\’s verdict against the

Election Commission is strongly worded and openly states that

the three were denied bail in order to prevent them from

running the October election. The Commissioners have signed

letters of resignation; one promises to enter the monkhood

once he makes bail. The opposition is gleeful about the

verdict; TRT is philosophical. Although the hard-core

opposition is still calling for PM Thaksin\’s immediate

resignation, most of the players appear ready to take the

fight off the streets and back to the polling booths. Things

seem to be on track for a reasonably acceptable election on

October 15. END SUMMARY.

 

ROCKET-PROPELLED KARMA

———————-

 

2. (C) Election Commission Chairman Wassana Permlap and his

fellow commissioners Prinya Nakchudtree and Virachai

Naewboonnien signed their resignation letters this morning

(July 26). This follows their conviction yesterday for

violations of the election code in their running of the

aborted April 2 elections (reftel). The Criminal Court has

used remarkably strong and clear language in their verdict,

which has been gotten extensive press coverage, including on

broadcast media. The Court specifically said that EC made

decisions that favored Thai Rak Thai (TRT), particularly in

their decision to allow new candidates to register for the

second round of voting on April 23. The three commissioners

had held on to their jobs despite tremendous pressure to

resign after the elections were annulled in May by the

Constitutional Court. Commissioner Prinya was protesting his

readiness to organize the October poll even as his bail

request was turned down. Commissioner Virachai, who was

moved to the hospital today for kidney dialysis, told the

press he planned to become a monk once he makes bail.

 

3. (C) It was clear yesterday that the court had decided not

to allow bail for the three specifically to trigger

constitutional provisions that render someone ineligible to

be an election commissioner if they have been convicted and

imprisoned (\”detained by a warrant of the Court.\”) The court

actually spelled out its intention in the verdict, \”It is

evident in the case that if the three defendants are

temporarily released on bail, they will continue to work in

their capacity to prepare the October 15 election, which may

cause severe damage and be detrimental to the election,

leading to a crisis that can affect the peace and order of

the country. The Court therefore denies bail for the

temporary release of the three defendants.\”

 

4. (C) The opposition can barely contain its glee over the

verdict and the sentencing of the three. People\’s Alliance

for Democracy (PAD) members in the south set off 10,000

firecrackers to celebrate. Even ministers are

going along without a whimper. Finance Minister Thanong told

the press that the court\’s verdict would boost investor

confidence and said that the ruling was in line with

democratic ways. The best analysis came from

massage-parlor-magnate-turned-opposition-poli tician Chuwit

Kamolvisit, who lost his seat in parliament in 2005 when

these commissioners disqualified him on technical grounds.

He told the press, \”The law of Karma is now propelled by a

rocket. We didn\’t have to wait until the next life to see

justice being served.\”

 

LOOKING FORWARD

—————

 

5. (C) Officials are emphasizing that new commissioners will

be chosen quickly. In the interim, there are a number of

things which will apparently have to go on hold. There

remain a handful of senators elected in April who still have

not had their mandate confirmed. They will presumably remain

in limbo until the new commission considers their cases.

(Since several, at least, are popular Bangkok personalities

who would be no friends of TRT, they are probably happy to

wait for the new EC.) The results of the local election in

Bangkok, run on July 23 — which resulted in a very strong

showing by the Democrat party — may have to await validation

until the new commission is in place. Basic arrangements for

running the October 15 polls can probably be handled by the

 

BANGKOK 00004525 002 OF 002

 

local election commissions and by the professional staff. So

far, it appears that the elections can be held on October 15.

 

THEY KNOW AS MUCH AS WE DO

————————–

 

6. (U) The intense focus on the fate of the much maligned

Election Commissioners has taken the spotlight off the Prime

Minister for a few days. The Bangkok Post scooped the

competition over the weekend with the inside story from the

International Symposium on Vedic Sciences. Both Thailand\’s

top astrologer and a distinguished Indian seer predicted that

Thaksin would lose the premiership, but be back in politics

in five years. The forum was presided over by former prime

minister (and political hopeful) General Chavalit

Yongchaiyudh. He had his fortune read by the Indian psychic

as well, but refused to reveal what the stars said about his

future.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) The stars are now in alignment for a reasonably

acceptable election on October 15. The PAD continues to

complain that Thaksin should step down before the vote, but

the opposition parties are not expecting this to happen. A

major controversy over the selection of new election

commissioners, or a major blunder by Thaksin, could provoke

more protests, but most of the players appear ready to take

the contest off the streets and into the polling booths.

 

8. (C) The court\’s harsh treatment of the election

commissioners sends a very clear message to everyone involved

in the election process ahead. The gloves are off, and the

courts are ready to impose real penalties for election

shenanigans. The fact that the verdict singles out TRT as

the beneficiary of the EC\’s violations is another blow to the

Prime Minister, and a warning shot across TRT\’s bow.

ARVIZU

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Written by thaicables

July 12, 2011 at 5:10 am

Posted in Confidential, Election

One Response

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  1. [...] more U.S. Embassy cheering in this cable, where Arvizu sees nothing wrong with politicized decisions by the courts on Election Commissioners [...]


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