- Posted November 28, 2013 by
Yingluck Survived the Censure Debate, but What Next?
It would be quite difficult for Prime Minister Yingluck to appease the growing mass of protestors showing up at several Government buildings around Bangkok. The anger of the protestors is deep-rooted. The Amnesty Bill, passed in the parliament at 4 am. on November 1, was just the last straw on the back of the camel. The main issues, according to my interviews of protestors, are about corruption and policies such as the Rice Pledging Scheme that could devastate the country’s finance.
After knowing the result of the censure debate, the opposition Democrat Party had a meeting. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, the party leader, said that the party would send members to the rallies and run parallel campaigns. Key protest leader, Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, remains unfazed. He is still winning the support from the people. On November 25, 2013, Mr. Suthep issued a six point proposal, which include building an electoral system that is free of vote buying, having effective measures to end corruption, empower people to be able to remove politicians, having police reform and bureaucratic reform, and solving problems inherent in education, social affairs, public health and transport. Although there were no concrete plans with the proposal, it seems like the proposal was well-received, and was a way-forward for the reform of Thailand.
At the moment, the protestors are camping out at the Government Complex in Nonthaburi, the Ministry of Finance and the National Police Agency in Bangkok. Today, the protestors will gather in front of the Asoke MRT station, and will march to the US Embassy.
Facing the protest that has been going on for almost a month, can Ms. Yingluck "regain the trust and faith of people” in the parliamentary system? According to various sources in the social media, there are a few things she could do. For example, she could promise to the public that she would do everything to fight corruption, in particular at the policy level. She could apologize to the people for letting her party passed the blanket Amnesty Bill. She could dissolve the parliament, and let people decide in the new election. At present, she has not done any of the above suggestions.
The National Anti-Corruption Committee (NACC) could move to implicate the Yingluck government in the rice pledging scheme. According to Mr. Wicha Mahakhun, the spokesmen of the anti-graft agency, NACC is gathering the facts and documents. And it would take some time before the verdict can be reached.
On another front, the government supporters will gather to support the government on November 30, according to Mr. Nattawut Saikaur, the red-shirt leader and the Deputy Minister of Commerce.
What will happen next? It is hard to predict. But what all Thais hope is that there should not be bloodshed. We should be able to find the solution of this conflict peacefully.
A Photo: Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra smiles during a debate by the opposition in parliament in Bangkok November 26, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom