Thailand’s King makes political statement

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Last Updated 25/05/2007, 14:29:50

Thailand’s King makes political statement

News Image
Thailand’s King Bhumibol has
made a rare speech focusing
on the country’s political issues.
[Reuters file photo]

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej has told the country’s senior judges that
a probe into two main political parties could cause strife.

King
Bhumibol, who rarely comments on political issues, says a ruling due
next week on whether the two parties should be disbanded for breaking
election rules was bound to cause trouble.

“You have the
responsibility to prevent the country from collapsing,” King Bhumibol,
speaking slowly and appearing to choose his words with care, told the
judges at his Chitralada Palace in Bangkok.

He said no matter
what verdict the Constitutional Tribunal handed down it would be
criticised and the judges should be aware of the potential
consequences.

“Whatever the verdict will be, it will bring damage to the country.

“Whatever
direction it will take, it will be erroneous,” he said in a 15-minute
speech which was also broadcast on national television.

King
Bhumibol appeared to imply that supporters of former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra or the generals who ousted him in a bloodless coup
last September would be upset by the ruling.

The
army-installed government says it is prepared to invoke an emergency
decree if demonstrations triggered by the ruling turn violent.

Thaksin’s
Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party and its rival, the Democrat
Party, are accused of violating election laws in an inconclusive
general election last year that was later annulled by the courts.

The
parties face dissolution and their top leadership, including Thaksin
who is living in exile in London, could be banned from politics for
five years.

King Bhumibol told the judges, one of whom is on
the nine-member Constitutional Tribunal, that political parties “need
to exist” in Thailand and the verdict was “very important” for the
parties.

King Bhumibol has been on the throne for 60 years and is the world’s longest reigning monarch.

He has no formal political power.
 

Yahoo!

Friday May 25, 1:58 AM

Thai King says fears strife after verdict on parties

Photo:
Reuters


BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej told senior judges on
Thursday a ruling next week on whether the country’s two main political
parties should be disbanded for breaking election rules was bound to
cause strife.

“You have the responsibility to prevent the country from
collapsing,” King Bhumibol, speaking slowly and appearing to choose his
words with care, told the judges at his Chitralada Palace in Bangkok.

No matter what verdict the Constitutional Tribunal handed down
on Wednesday, it would be criticised and the judges should be aware of
the potential consequences, he said.

“Whatever the verdict will be, it will bring damage to the
country. Whatever direction it will take, it will be erroneous,” he
said in a 15-minute speech broadcast on national television.

King Bhumibol appeared to imply that supporters of former Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra or the generals who ousted him in a
bloodless coup last September would be upset by the ruling.

The army-installed government says it is prepared to invoke an
emergency decree if demonstrations triggered by the ruling turn violent.

Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party and its rival, the
Democrat Party, are accused of violating election laws in an
inconclusive general election last year that was later annulled by the
courts.

The parties face dissolution and their top leadership,
including Thaksin who is living in exile in London, could be banned
from politics for five years.

Many analysts believe the generals want that verdict to
complete their coup by barring Thaksin from politics despite his
frequent statements that he has quit.

If Thai Rak Thai is not disbanded, the justification for
ousting Thakin, accused of abuse of power and presiding over rampant
corruption, would be undermined, analysts say.

King Bhumibol told the judges, one of whom is on the
nine-member Constitutional Tribunal, that political parties “need to
exist” in Thailand and the verdict was “very important” for the
parties.

King Bhumibol, who has been on the throne for 60 years and is
the world’s longest reigning monarch, has no formal political power.
But Thursday’s meeting was his second public intervention in just over
a year, both of them involving top judges.

In April last year, he told judges it was their job to break a
political deadlock created by an opposition boycott of a snap election
called by Thaksin to defuse street protests against him.

The judges annulled the poll results and sacked the election
commissioners, paving the way for an election rerun that was aborted by
the coup in September.

Yahoo!

Thursday May 24, 11:58 PM

Post-coup Thailand ‘not good at all’ says king

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s influential king on Thursday warned
dissolving the two main political parties would damage the country’s
image, commenting that the post-coup situation was “not good at all.”

Speaking at a nationally televised ceremony at Chitralada palace,
King Bhumibol Adulyadej addressed Thailand’s top judges urged to act
fairly.

“You have responsibilities to make the country not sink. You can
advise people because you have knowledge. I ask you to solve the
current situation which is not good at all,” he said.

The rare comments come ahead of Wednesday’s Constitutional Court
ruling that could result in the dissolution of Thai Rak Thai (TRT), the
party created by deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and the opposition
Democrat Party.

“Whatever the judgement is, it will damage the country,” said the 79-year-old king, who is almost universally adored by Thais.

“When the judgement about politics comes, it is very important … The nation needs political parties,” he said.

King Bhumibol has few legal powers but wields enormous influence
over his people, who revere him with an almost god-like devotion.

Nine constitutional court judges who were appointed by the junta
after a September coup are to rule on vote fraud charges against
Thaksin’s political party and the Democrat Party on Wednesday.

If found guilty, the parties would be dissolved and the party
executives banned from politics for five years, meaning prominent
leaders could not run in December polls promised by the junta.

The king’s comments came amid growing fears that Wednesday’s ruling
could set off violence, prompting authorities to warn that the junta
would be ready to impose “an emergency decree” if the situation
warrants.

Addressing supreme administrative court judges visiting the palace,
the king said they should “judge whether the Constitutional Court’s
(expected) verdict is right or wrong.”

“I don’t have power to say they (constitutional court judges) are
right or wrong. But I have my own judgement which cannot be said. I
don’t have power. But you have to think whether your judge friends make
a right or wrong verdict,” he said.

On his 79th birthday in December, the king praised the country’s
post-coup government as “wise and experienced,” but hinted he expected
to see a new premier within a year.

The monarch, who with 60 years on the throne is the world’s
longest-serving monarch, has seen 24 prime ministers, 18 coups and 17
constitutions.

The palace ceremony was part of celebrations marking the king’s anniversary.

International News,國際新聞
2007/5/25
By Ambika Ahuja BANGKOK, Thailand, AP

Thai king urges firm, clear verdict in key case

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej
advised top judges Thursday to render a firm and clear verdict in a
case that could dissolve the country’s top political parties, warning
that the nation’s security was at risk.

The king, a constitutional
monarch who is revered by virtually all Thais, gave the advice in a
speech to Administrative Court judges that was shown on all national
television channels Thursday evening.

Bhumibol rarely speaks
out directly on political or policy matters, saving his immense
influence for times of national crisis. However, it was the second time
in little over a year that the king has used the forum of a speech to
judges to express his desire that they take a hand in solving the
nation’s problems in time of trouble.

The Constitutional Court
will rule May 30 on whether the former ruling Thai Rak Thai Party and
the Democrat Party violated election law last year, which could lead to
their being disbanded.

“I urge you to prepare yourself to be
ready to criticize or be criticized in the capacity of learned men to
prevent the country from falling into a crisis. If you don’t do
anything, the country will fall. It is your responsibility,” the
79-year-old king said.

Concern has been expressed by the media
and some public figures that disorder may result from the court’s
decision, particularly if it decided to dissolve the Thai Rak Thai
Party of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. A former deputy
leader of Thai Rak Thai earlier this week threatened to mobilize
thousands of protesters if the court ruled against it.

The
practical meaning of the king’s advice was not clear, though it seemed
to suggest that the judges not make a compromise ruling to attempt to
please all parties involved.

The king, who spoke standing but
in a weak, rasping voice, was careful not to suggest where he stood on
the merits of the case.

“In my mind, I have a judgment but I
cannot say,” he said, without further explanation. “Either way the
ruling goes, it will be bad for the country, there will be mistakes.”


Constitutional Court ruling that could result in the dissolution of
Thai Rak Thai (TRT), the party created by deposed premier Thaksin
Shinawatra, and the opposition Democrat Party. “Whatever the judgement
is, it will damage the country,” said the…

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