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08BANGKOK2091 COURT RULINGS CLOUD FUTURE OF SAMAK ADMINISTRATION

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“161279”,”7/9/2008 8:57″,”08BANGKOK2091″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“08BANGKOK1878|08BANGKOK1951|08BANGKOK598|08BANGKOK608”,

“VZCZCXRO2586

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2091/01 1910857

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 090857Z JUL 08

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3635

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 8879

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0904

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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

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RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002091

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR PHU

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2018

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KDEM, KJUS, TH

SUBJECT: COURT RULINGS CLOUD FUTURE OF SAMAK ADMINISTRATION

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 1951 (DEBATE BEGINS)

B. BANGKOK 1878 (TEMPLE MAP APPROVED)

C. BANGKOK 608 (CASE REFERRED TO COURT)

D. BANGKOK 598 (FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS)

 

BANGKOK 00002091 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric G. John, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).

 

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) The Supreme Court delivered a ruling on July 8 that

may enable the Constitutional Court to dissolve the People\’s

Power Party (PPP) and render Prime Minister Samak and other

PPP executives unable to hold government office. If PPP were

to be dissolved, this would prompt a change of

administrations but not necessarily a new legislative

election; any such action by the Constitutional Court is

likely months away. Separately, the Constitutional Court

reviewed a Thai-Cambodian Joint Communique supporting the

inscription of Preah Vihear temple on the UNESCO World

Heritage List and determined that the Communique required

parliamentary approval. The Court\’s determination that the

Samak administration acted contrary to the Constitution\’s

provisions in this matter has sparked talk of impeachment

proceedings. End Summary.

 

YONGYUTH DISQUALIFIED, PPP SURVIVAL AT STAKE

——————————————–

 

2. (U) The Supreme Court on July 8 issued its ruling in the

electoral fraud case against former House Speaker Yongyuth

Tiyapairat. (Refs C and D provide further detail on

Yongyuth\’s infractions and the process through which the case

was filed with the Court.) The Court upheld the Election

Commission\’s finding that Yongyuth had violated the election

law, determining that he is ineligible to hold public office.

 

3. (U) Because Yongyuth held a position on the People\’s Power

Party (PPP) Executive Board at the time of the infraction,

the door is now open for the Constitutional Court to consider

dissolution of PPP. Article 237 of the 2007 Constitution

provides that such violations, if committed or even tolerated

by party executives, trigger a presumption that the party

sought to acquire state power by unconstitutional means and,

therefore, the party can be dissolved by the Constitutional

Court, with all its executives subject to a five-year ban on

political activity.

 

4. (C) Two other parties — Chart Thai and Matchima — are

already undergoing procedures consistent with Article 237

that risk their parties\’ dissolution. Their fate rests with

a joint Election Commission (EC) and Office of the Attorney

General (OAG) committee, which has been considering for

months whether to file a request for the Constitutional Court

to dissolve the parties, following disqualification of party

executives for election law violations. Based on their

experiences, we believe it will be at least two months before

the EC and OAG might decide to file a request with the

Constitutional Court for PPP\’s dissolution. Constitutional

Court deliberations would then likely take months more,

although it is possible that the Court would find a way to

accelerate its procedures in this case. (Supporters of

former Prime Minister Thaksin, who provides behind-the-scenes

leadership for PPP, often allege that the Court is

ill-disposed toward Thaksin and PPP; see septel on Thaksin\’s

legal cases.)

 

TEMPLE RULING INCREASES PRESSURE ON GOVERNMENT

——————————————— –

 

5. (U) Separately, the Constitutional Court ruled on July 8

that the Samak administration acted in violation of

constitutional procedures when Foreign Minister Noppadon

Pattama and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An signed a

June 18 Joint Communique supporting the inscription of the

Preah Vihear temple on the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Refs

A and B provide more background on the controversy in

Thailand surrounding inscription.) The Court determined that

this Communique met the definition of a treaty found in the

 

BANGKOK 00002091 002.2 OF 002

 

Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: \”an international

agreement concluded between States in written form and

governed by international law…\”

 

6. (U) The Court further found that the Communique fell into

a certain category of treaties covered by Article 190 of the

2007 Constitution; it \”provides for a change in the Thai

territories, the extraterritorial areas in which the Kingdom

has a sovereign right, or any jurisdictional area the Kingdom

has acquired through treaty or through international law, or

requires the enactment of an Act for its implementation, or

has extensive impacts on the country\’s economic and social

stability, or has significant bindings on trade, investment,

or national budget…\” Therefore, the Constitution required

that the government subject the Communique/Treaty to certain

parliamentary procedures (specified in Article 190) both

prior to its conclusion and after its signing; those

procedures were not followed in this case.

 

7. (U) Following the Court\’s ruling, Democrat Party Leader

Abhisit Vejjajiva said publicly he would move for FM

Noppadon\’s impeachment. Senator Khamnoon Sithisaman — a

reasonably prominent figure associated with People\’s Alliance

for Democracy (PAD) leader Sondhi Limthongkul (an ardent

Thaksin opponent) — called publicly for the cabinet\’s

resignation and talked of pursuing criminal charges against

the Samak administration.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

8. (C) A Constitutional Court ruling in the PPP dissolution

case is likely many months away. Nevertheless, this looming

prospect, combined with the near-term impact of the Preah

Vihear decision, imparts a greater sense that both the party

and Samak\’s administration are living on borrowed time.

PPP\’s dissolution would necessarily result in the formation

of a new government, although it would not necessitate new

elections; PPP legislators who do not hold executive

positions in the party would be free to retain their seats in

the House, so long as they join other parties. The

pro-Thaksin camp has likely begun contingency planning to

form a new political vehicle. Recalling that PPP only gained

significance once it became the de facto principal successor

party to Thai Rak Thai (TRT), after TRT\’s May 2007

dissolution, we note that PPP\’s dissolution, by itself, would

mark a setback for — but not necessarily the end of —

Thaksin\’s political influence.

 

9. (C) Although we have not seen the text of the Preah Vihear

ruling, we find the Court\’s analysis questionable, and we

note that the RTG will likely become hesitant to document any

bilateral or multilateral agreements, for fear of similar

charges arising in the future. This ruling will likely

reinforce the impression of Thaksin supporters that the Court

is ill-disposed toward Thaksin and his allies.

JOHN

 

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Written by thaicables

July 16, 2011 at 6:22 am

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