Thaksin's call gives boost to Worachai bill

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung's attempt to push for a blanket amnesty for people involved in past political unrest appeared doomed Tuesday.

  • Published: 22/05/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: news

Pheu Thai de facto leader Thaksin Shinawatra has ordered the party to adopt a different legislative draft.

In a call to the party via Skype, Thaksin told the party's committee overseeing political strategies to forward the bill proposed by Samut Prakan MP Worachai Hema to parliament instead.

Thaksin's Skype call to Ratchaprasong on Sunday changed the dynamic of the attempted amnesty bill - again. (EPA photo)

The Worachai draft seeks to provide an amnesty for all persons involved in past political unrest between 2006 and 2010. Unlike Mr Chalerm's proposal, the Worachai bill would exclude Thaksin, protest leaders and authorities responsible for the crackdowns, but include everyone else previously convicted of crimes relating to political violence.

According to a Pheu Thai Party MP, Thaksin urged the party to press ahead with the Worachai amnesty bill as he did not want his red-shirt supporters to remain in jail.

Mr Chalerm told reporters Tuesday he had instructed the party's legal panel, led by Pheu Thai MP Piraphan Palusuk, to decide whether to submit his bill to parliament on Thursday.

It is up to the legal panel to make a decision, he said. If the panel does not submit the bill Mr Chalerm said he will not feel as if he has lost face as it would show that Pheu Thai is democratically minded. He said the bill would not lead to conflict among party members.

In a last-ditch effort to gain support for his reconciliation bill, Mr Chalerm said he has decided to remove a clause concerning financial compensation to avoid the prime minister having to endorse it.

Mr Chalerm said that to date 152 Pheu Thai MPs had signed in support of his bill, whereas just 42 Pheu Thai MPs had signed to support Mr Worachai's.

However, a party source previously said that several Pheu Thai MPs had withdrawn their names from Mr Chalerm's bill because they realised it could backfire on the government.

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