Several parties 'unhappy' with MFP amnesty bill
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Several parties 'unhappy' with MFP amnesty bill

An amnesty bill proposed by the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) has met with resistance from several other parties due to its inclusion of lese majeste offences, according to Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

He said while several parities support the goal of the amnesty bill, each harbours their own concerns about specific elements, particularly the proposed granting of a pardon to those charged with or convicted of lese majeste. Mr Phumtham, also commerce minister and a senior figure in the ruling Pheu Thai Party, said the MFP's amnesty proposal has divided public opinion and, if the differences can be sorted out and the bill does not cause further conflict, Pheu Thai is willing to lend its support.

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said Pheu Thai's executive board and the legal team would consider if the party or the government should come up with its own amnesty bill.

When asked about media reports that the Pheu Thai secretary-general would propose the party's own version, Dr Cholnan, a former Pheu Thai leader, said the party has yet to discuss the matter. He also said that for the proposed amnesty to be accepted by all sides certain concessions might have to be made.

Chartthaipattana Party leader Varawut Silpa-archa said his party is against granting amnesty to people charged with or convicted of lese majeste or of serious offences causing damage to the nation.

Mr Varawut, also Social Development and Human Security Minister, said he has yet to study the details of the MFP's amnesty bill, while noting that corruption cases over the past 20 years have nothing to do with fostering political reconciliation.

Nikorn Chamnong, director of the Chartthaipattana Party, said he agrees with the government proposing its own amnesty bill, but emphasised that any proposal must exclude lese majeste and serious crimes.

MFP MP Parit Wacharasindhu, meanwhile, welcomed the submission of an alternative amnesty proposal, saying it would allow the House to have a more thorough debate.

Asked about the party's input-gathering campaign, he said the MFP wants to engage all relevant parties, particularly the government, on the matter in order to secure the necessary votes from government MPs to pass the bill into law.

The MFP-proposed bill was submitted to the House Speaker on Oct 5. Groups likely to benefit from the amnesty proposal included the People's Alliance for Democracy, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, the People's Democratic Reform Committee and others.

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