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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        11  June  2011

Senior Thai pol calls for reconciliation

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Political stability will continue to be elusive after the July 3 elections if national reconciliation is not pursued in earnest by the next government, says Chartthaipattana Party's chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart. Sanan is proposing a concerted effort to clear the air in Thailand's splintered society as a way of heading off possible post-election violence and opening the way for stability under the next government.

He said that if he were to become prime minister, which he admits is unlikely, he would embark on a plan to heal the divides in society.

Without it, the new administration is doomed to be short-lived, especially if either the Pheu Thai Party or Democrat Party rises to power.

"Reconciliation takes time to achieve. But if we don't do anything at all, a civil war may erupt after the election. And this time around the body count may be higher," Maj Gen Sanan said.

He said his bleak outlook on the political situation was based on some crucial factors.

Army Commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha's recent remarks about "mob rule and stability" were significant, he said.

In the army chief's opinions, a political party that rises to power through mob rule is not stable and can expect its power to be usurped.

Sanan seems to have no doubts that Pheu Thai will win the most seats in the election. Given its strong popularity, the party will grab between 210-240 seats out of 500, he predicted.

But he is not so sure that Pheu Thai, which counts among its supporters the red-shirt movement, can form a government and run the country.

Even if the Pheu Thai party succeeds in forming a coalition government, its amnesty plan for deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be a thorn in its side, eroding stability, he said.

Citing his talks with Thaksin, he noted that the ex-prime minister was not likely to accept the jail term imposed on him by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

"An attempt to seek an amnesty is likely to spark a new protest by those who don't support Thaksin," he said.

Sanan said there was a distant hope that the Democrat Party could win the elections and the mandate to set up a government. "The party's track record is that it has never won an election after being in government," he said.

Reconciliation has been on Sanan's lips following last year's political violence at Ratchaprasong intersection.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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