Saturday, November 27, 2010

Will the verdict come on Monday? Stay tuned!

If you believe Deputy PM Suthep Thuagsuban,secretary general of the Democrat Party, the Constitutional Tribunal may hand down a verdict on whether to dissolve his party or not on Monday, Nov 29, soon after the Election Commission and the defendant deliver their final verbal statements.

But don't bet on it.

Another school of thought argues that that may not come to pass, especially considering the fact that one of the seven judges on the panel, Charoon Intachan, has just resigned from that post to pursue his case against those who had posted video clips that prompted him to go for litigation.

Now that there are only six judges left, the other side says, it's unlikely that the panel of judges will come up with a ruling -- risking a 3:3 draw that could create a controversial precedent.

In order to restore the odd-number tradition for such panels, a new judge will have to be named to replace the one who quit. And that will take some time to process.

Suspense is hanging in the air. The verdict could come on Monday. Or it may be postponed indefinitely. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Small polls, big impact

By-elections to be held on Dec 12 in five constituencies, three of them in the Northeast (one in Bangkok and the other in Ayudhya), will pit the government against the red shirts in another test of the people's political sentiments.

The Northeast by-elections (in Khon Kaen, Korat and Surin) will test whether Thaksin Shinawatra's Pheau Thai Party can thrash Newin Chidchob's Bhumjaithai Party, which is the key coalition partner of the current government.

Both sides are caught in a "must-win" position to convince the whole country that they are more popular than the other. It's the upcoming general election that's at stake, not necessarily the outcomes of the by-elections themselves.

In a way, the by-elections will also put to test the Abhisit government's performance in the past two years -- in the areas of the government's populist policies for grass-roots voters as well as how the people there view the government's relief measures against flood victims.

Therefore, the upcoming polls are the "small ballot-casting exercises with big impact."

In this ever unpredictable political scenario, nothing can be taken for granted.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Red Shirts Rally by Tweeple

This is a nice way to collect tweets of people I follow to report on a particular story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SET Index and politics

What has the stock market's SET Index got to do with politics?

At least one political columnist, T. Sak of Thai Post, insists that if the SET Index crosses the 1,000 point, that means House dissolution and a new election is just around the corner.

"I made that prediction sometime ago. Today, I still stand by that assessment," he confirmed this morning.

Why? The columnist says when the stock market gets a sudden jolt and the prices rise dramatically, that means some politicians are actively involved in pushing the prices up...."in order to make financial preparations for the election campaigns."

You will have to read between the lines there. I think I know what he means. But then,
he doesn't necessarily have to say it in so many words.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What does Sanan want Thais to forget?

Manager Weekly ran this "Mad" caricature of Maj Gen Sanan Kachornprasart, deputy premier, on its cover this morning. The conclusion of the analysis: Sanan is trying to ask the whole country to "forget the past" about Thaksin Shinawatra.

Sanan, after his casual 15-minute meeting with Thaksin in Norway last week, publicly said that he had asked all parties concerned to forget what had been done to them. "If we don't forget the past, anger would still be there."

The Manager's piece said what Sanan meant was obviously to clear the ex-premier of his wrongdoings.

"Does Maj Gen Sanan want the Thai peple not to remember the wrongdoings and the court's verdicts to drag this convict into prison in accordance with the law of the land?"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New army chief: Coup? What coup?

A lot of people would like to personally ask the new army chief, Gen Prayuth Em-ocha, whether he would ever consider staging a coup.

He sort of offered an answer the other day when reporters asked him about the allegation from red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan that the yellow shirts had staged a rally over the Thai-Khmer MoU on border demarcation to stir up enough trouble to let the army stage another coup:

"Let me pose a question. Who wants to stage a coup right now? Thailand has a democratic system under the Monarchy. This is the best system in the world. We are different from other countries. They only have a democratic system. Why do we want to go in search of another system then? That won't solve our problems...." he said.

What about the last coup then? Gen Prayuth responded:

"I don't really want to go back in time. But they had to do it then to prevent a problem that was emerging. After that, they went back to the normal mechanism. So, why do we want to go back? The situation today is different from that of the old time. We must somehow try to solve the current problems..."

Reading between the lines, it's still hard to say whether the new army boss has ruled out the possibility of a coup, isn't it?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Thaksin-Sanan Norway peace meet: Expect no bombshells

I can't honestly say I am waiting with great anticipation of what Maj Gen Sanan Kachornprasart is going to tell us about what was discussed when he met former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra in Norway a few days ago, supposedly at a Thai temple there.

Sanan, who is a deputy premier in this government, was back in Bangkok today but he refused to divulge any detail to reporters, pleading with to be patient and wait for his official press conference tomorrow.

You can expect the usual kind of talk about Thaksin's intention to create a harmonious atmosphere and that he only wants good things to happen to the country. Sanan, who has been playing the role of a peace broker, will naturally sound positive about their meeting.

No such bombshells as Thaksin vowing to stop his political role or to come home to serve the prison term can be expected.

But then who knows? There might be some exciting statements about peace from Thaksin. But then, this won't be the first time, nor the last time.

Let's hear them out. Things can't be worse anyway.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

If Newin ever becomes PM, I'll divorce him

She is the wife of one of the most influential politicians in Thailand. But Karuna "Tai" Chidchob, in her first frank and comprehensive interview as chairman of "Buriram FC" soccer team, declared: "If Khun Newin ever becomes prime minister of this country, I will divorce him."

She wasn't joking. In the interview published in the latest issue of Nation weekender, Karuna said politics was a cruel affair.

"Politics shouldn't affect the family. I say this because I have personally been affected myself. So anyone who loves his or her children shouldn't encourage them to go into politics," she said.

She is serious about soccer. But she claims she wants to have nothing to do with politics, despite the fact that her husband is known to be the real "owner" of Bhumjaithai Party which is a partner in the current coalition government.