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Uncertainty clouds TRT’s future

By David Ogan
31 August 2006 13:44
Despite efforts by its leaders to put on brave faces, political analysts believe the ruling Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party faces grim prospects as it struggles to ensure victory in a general election that now seems likely to be postponed

Top TRT members claimed yesterday that caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s party would win the election to form a government once more, but critics characterize the mighty TRT as fighting to survive and its united front as thinly shielding growing internal rifts.

The two main factors making TRT’s immediate future seem bleak are Thaksin’s unlikely return as premier and the possibility of the party being dissolved if found guilty of violating election law by the Constitutional Court.

After a party meeting on Tuesday, Thaksin acknowledged what the public has long expected, that the October 15 election may have to be postponed due to the time needed to complete the appointment of a new Election Commission (EC).

“Issuing a Royal Decree to postpone the election depends on the [caretaker] Senate, which must wait for the new EC to decide whether the election needs to be postponed or not,” Thaksin said.

Deputy TRT Spokesman Pimuk Simaroj said one of the reasons why Thaksin admitted that a later election date was appropriate was the fact that election commissioners will not be in place by the time candidates register to contest the new election.

Yesterday, the Senate EC screening panel announced that the selection of the five commissioners is in its final stages and should be completed by the middle of September.

Sunthorn Jinda-in, the chairman of the panel, said the screening of the 10 nominees was going smoothly and the panel was not overly concerned about any complaints made against the candidates.

However, he expressed concern that the Royal Decree calling for the October 15 election will run into difficulties, as the new EC was not in place when the decree took effect on August 24.

“The current decree must be amended because if the October 15 election is held then there can be complaints filed afterwards and cause many problems,” he said. “The government must seek the issuance of a new Royal Decree for a later date.”

Screening panel Secretary-General Wallop Tangkananurak said that a Senate session can be convened by the end of next week to select the new commissioners and that the EC can be in operation by mid-September.

After Thaksin, who had demanded that the new election take place on October 15, gave his nod to a likely postponement, TRT members claimed that it would not affect the confidence of the public or the party in the poll.

Caretaker Deputy Interior Minister Somchai Sunthornvut said yesterday that he believed the election will be postponed by only a couple of weeks, and a later date will not affect TRT’s campaign.

There will be no mass exodus of party members either, he asserted.

“Even if the postponement creates another 90-day period that allows members to move parties and still be eligible to run, party members will not leave,” said Somchai.

However, he admitted that there were “feelings of difficulties” among many in the party after top TRT members, such as Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak, said earlier this month that they would not seek a position in a new government.

But Somchai said Somkid will remain loyal to TRT and may even become the next PM if asked to do so by Thaksin.

Political critics yesterday claimed that they could see through TRT’s show of strength despite claims that it will still command a majority vote in the general election.

Surat Horachaikul, a political lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said, “The new EC can find flaws and problems of TRT and monitor the new election to be free and fair. This will ensure that the mess that was created by the April 2 election is not repeated.

“However, there are two major questions that still need to be answered: whether Thaksin will return as PM and whether the Constitutional Court will dissolve the TRT party for election law violations,” he added.

Surat said it would be difficult for Thaksin to return as premier and if the public reads between the lines, they may find he has been dropping hints to that effect in several of his recent speeches.

“Thaksin cannot admit that he will not return as premier because it would break up the party, but it is something that will most likely happen,” he


Surat also said the possibility of TRT being dissolved by the Constitutional Court could not be ruled out. “The court’s decision may be rendered before the new election, if it is postponed,” Surat said. “If that happens, the party will be in disarray.”

He said the alleged assassination plot targeting the PM was merely a political ploy by the caretaker government to gain some leverage. “TRT is now fighting to survive.”

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เห็นด้วย ไม่เห็นด้วย
1. โปรดงดเว้น การใช้คำหยาบคาย ส่อเสียด ดูหมิ่น กล่าวหาให้ร้าย สร้างความแตกแยก หรือกระทบถึงสถาบันอันเป็นที่เคารพ
2. ทุกความคิดเห็นไม่เกี่ยวข้องกับผู้ดำเนินการเว็บไซต์ และไม่สามารถนำไปอ้างอิงทางกฎหมายได้
3. ทีมงานเว็บมาสเตอร์ขอสงวนสิทธิ์ในการลบความคิดเห็น โดยไม่ต้องชี้แจงเหตุผลใดๆ ต่อเจ้าของความคิดเห็นนั้น
4. เพื่อให้การแสดงความคิดเห็นเป็นไปตามกฎกติกาที่วางไว้ ทางผู้จัดการออนไลน์ได้ปรับปรุงระบบการกรองคำให้เข้มงวดยิ่งขึ้น กรุณารอสักครู่ ก่อนที่ความคิดเห็นของท่านจะถูกนำขึ้นแสดง
5. ผู้ร่วมแสดงความคิดเห็นสามารถร่วมตรวจสอบข้อความที่ไม่เหมาะสมได้ โดยการกดปุ่ม "แจ้งลบ" หรือส่งอีเมลแจ้งมาที่ หรือ ซึ่งทีมงานจะทำการตรวจสอบ และลบข้อความดังกล่าวโดยเร็วที่สุด หรืออย่างช้าภายใน 3 วันทำการ
เพื่อให้การแสดงความคิดเห็นเป็นไปตามกฎกติกาที่วางไว้ ทางผู้จัดการออนไลน์ได้ปรับปรุงระบบการกรองคำให้เข้มงวดยิ่งขึ้น กรุณารอสักครู่ ก่อนที่ความคิดเห็นของท่านจะถูกนำขึ้นแสดง
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