Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lame-duck Kasit fights to stay on until after Asean's forum in Phuket

It's only a matter of time before Kasit Biromya steps down as foreign minister, despite his strong statement on Channel 11 last night that he would stay on "because the terrorism charge filed by police is absolutely unreasonable."

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva has said Kasit doesn't have to quit for now -- and that he will decide the minister's fate without having to wait for the legal proceedings. In other words, the premier was saying that he will be exercising his political judgement, rather than legal consideration.

That, obviously, was what Kasit meant too when he went to Aljazeera's headquarters in Qatar for an interview on Sunday when he said he would have to resign "at some point." That, of course, wasn't a legal consideration. It's all political.

With Kasit being hurled the severe charge together with 35 others, mostly core members of People's Alliance for Democracy, he has inevitably become a "lame-duck minister." He knows it. The PM knows it. It's only a matter of letting anger settle and a sense of political propriety to take over.

The question is timing: Will a new foreign minister take up his post before or after the July 16-17 Asean Regional Forum (ARF) conference in Phuket? Kasit, clearly, is negotiating for the latter to happen.

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