Dems to boycott amnesty talks
The Democrat Party will not attend a discussion of a proposed new amnesty bill on Monday, spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said on Saturday.
- Published: 9/03/2013 at 04:31 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
Mr Chavanond said his party stood firm on its stance to oppose any move to seek amnesty for those facing criminal prosecution or accused of insulting the high institution.
The Democrats would agree only to amnesty for those facing charges of violating emergency decrees imposed during political unrest, he said.
The Democrats are also demanding that four other pro-amnesty national reconciliation bills waiting to clear first reading in parliament be withdrawn before any new plan is considered.
Draft legislation for a broad amnesty for people facing politically related charges, signed by 42 Pheu Thai MPs led by Worachai Hema, was submitted to House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont on Thursday.
Mr Chavanond said Pheu Thai's real motivation was to whitewash fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and co-leaders of the red-shirt group.
Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomol has invited representatives of 11 groups to the meeting on Monday to discuss the latest amnesty bill.
Mr Charoen said those invited included representatives from the army, the multi-colour group led by Tul Sitthisomwong and the Bhumjaithai Party.
The meeting, he said, was aimed at peacefully putting an end to political conflict and social division and finding acceptable solutions to the pressing problems of the country. If all parties join hands in seeking solutions, it would bring about national reconciliation, he added.
The deputy speaker also called on all opposition parties to join the discussion and refrain from jumping to conclusions that the new proposal was aimed at helping any particular people or groups.
Supachai Jaisamut, deputy secretary-general of Bhumjaithai, a small opposition party, said on Saturday that his party had just received the invitation letter from Mr Charoen.
He said it was an important issue and he would have to discuss with party members whether to attend the talks on Monday.
Mr Supachai insisted that his party supported any move toward national reconciliation, if it is agreed to by all sides.
Somsak Thepsuthin, a senior figure of the Matchima faction inside Bhumjaithai, said it would be good if all parties agreed to the plan to bring about reconciliation for the betterment of the country.
Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha had earlier confirmed that the army would send its representatives to the meeting on Monday.
Mr Charoen said the military's input would be vital as it had been instrumental in containing protests in 2009 and 2010.
Gen Prayuth stressed the amnesty must be fair to all sides and the law must not be compromised.
Opposition chief whip Jurin Laksanavisit said that as long as the four earlier reconciliation bills were not withdrawn, it was possible they and the Worachai bill would be merged.
The four reconciliation bills mainly seek to grant amnesty to political offenders, including protest leaders, between the time of the 2006 coup that unseated Thaksin and May 10, 2011.
Mr Worachai's draft also aims to grant amnesty to offenders excluding protest leaders between the Sept 19, 2006 coup and May 10, 2011.
However, it also covers people who did not join political protests but were charged for acts or statements contributing to the conflicts. It is thus seen as having the potential to cover more people than any of the other proposals.
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