Leakage of classic document before Thai election leads to political quarrels

www.chinaview.cn  2007-12-01 19:32:35
by Ling Shuo  

    BANGKOK, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Council for National Security (CNS), the real power authority after last year’s military coup that toppled the former regime of then premier Thaksin Shinawatra, has now been drawn into censures after it confessed the authenticity of a leaked classic document.

    The document was released by the People Power Party (PPP) about two months ago. The PPP, which is supporting the ousted former prime minister Thaksin, said it had obtained a classified CNS document in which the CNS issued orders to stop the party coming to power in Dec. 23’s general election.

    At first, the CNS disavowed to the Election Commission (EC) which takes charge of the case that it has issued such a document. But on Friday, the CNS said it has.

    However, in a letter which the CNS sent to the EC, the CNS said it did nothing wrong because its actions were protected by the 2006 interim charter after the coup as well as the 2007 constitution which has a provision covering CNS actions performed under the interim charter.

    The CNS, headed by eight generals, told the EC that it would defend itself on the issue in court.

    The letter, was later seen and criticized as a kind of interfering in the work of the EC.

    After the PPP’s complaint, the EC asked an investigation committee to look into the matter. Four of the seven committee members found the CNS failed to act neutrally. The EC will consider the matter on Tuesday.

    Some EC commissioners said the investigation committee should have asked a court to verify the authenticity of the document before starting its work.

    Chaturon Chaisaeng, former acting leader of Thaksin’s disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party and also a leading supporter of the PPP, blamed the CNS issued its orders in the confidential paper while the election law existed.

    He said the law requires all government officials to be impartial in the lead-up to the election, but the CNS is undermining not only the PPP, but also the independent EC.

    However, Defense Minister Boonrawd Somtas insisted on Saturday that the military, or the CNS, has not tried to interfere with work of the EC in its upcoming ruling on the classified document from the CNS to suppress its opponents.

    “The classified document was issued in September, while the election decree was implemented in October,” said the general, adding that since the election decree was announced, the military has remained politically neutral.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont also came out to mediate the dispute. Surayud on Saturday said that the “letter to EC was only the explanation of the CNS”, and the CNS is not trying to interfere in the work of the commission.

    Deputy Prime Minister and former CNS chairman Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, who is seen as the core person of the dispute, insisted the council did nothing wrong in issuing its anti-PPP order. It was just doing its duty to promote national security and he hoped “the public would understand.”

    Sonthi on Saturday denied the order meant the council lost its neutrality. It only intended to guide the public down the right path of democracy, he said.

    Asked if he should stay as chairman of a government committee campaigning against vote-buying when doubts hung over the CNS’s neutrality under his leadership, Sonthi said that would depend on the decision of Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.

    Only three weeks before the general election, local media comments said that the quarrels are still rampant in Thailand.

Thai PM: Election Commission could remove anti-vote buying chairman

www.chinaview.cn  2007-11-29 16:42:59

    BANGKOK, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said on Thursday that Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratklin would be removed as chairman of the national committee to fight vote buying if the Election Commission (EC) rules that he is biased against the People Power Party (PPP).

    Surayud said he was awaiting a ruling of the EC before making a decision on Sonthi’s chairmanship of the anti-vote buying committee.

    Recently, the PPP filed complaint with the EC that Sonthi, the former Army Chief and the former head of the Council for National Security, had issued a confidential document, instructing the army to pick on the PPP to try to prevent it from winning the upcoming general election on Dec. 23.

    However, Surayud was quoted by local media group The Nation as saying that the government would handle the issue with impartiality.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

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