Manthorpe on amnesty and exile in Thailand

Thailand is roiled by political intrigue, street protests and royal scandal. International affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe explains why an amnesty bill is unlikely to change this state of affairs:

No end is in sight to the torrid and bloody turmoil that has engulfed Thailand’s public life for almost a decade, as the country’s senate prepares to reject an amnesty law that would allow ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return from exile.

Since it was elected in 2011 the Pheu Thai Party government, led by Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, has been looking for the right moment to produce the highly contentious amnesty law. 

Yet even the recent broadening of its provisions to absolve everyone from all parties involved in alleged illegal acts during the years of turmoil, has failed to stem opposition.

Last week’s passage of the amnesty bill through the lower house of parliament, where Prime Minister Yingluck has an overwhelming majority, led to days of mass street protests in the capital Bangkok and other cities around the country.

Fearing these protests will again explode into the street violence that has dogged the nation since a military coup in 2006, Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanij says he believes a majority of the 150 senators will decide it is in the national interest to reject the bill when it comes before them on November 11  …   Read more.

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