Kasit calls out military on unity pact

Kasit calls out military on unity pact

National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) member Kasit Piromya has urged the military to join the planned signing of a controversial national unity pace and pledge not to stage further coups.

The so-called memorandum of understanding (MoU), which is aimed at getting all political groups to sign up to end their long-running conflict, has been rolled out by the government though criticised by politicians and political activists.

Mr Kasit, a former foreign minister-turned-NRSA member, is among the critics. He says the military has played a key role in perpetuating the conflict which has divided Thailand into two sides since the 2006 coup that toppled the Thaksin Shinawatra administration.

"The version of the MoU which the Thai people want," Mr Kasit wrote on Facebook, "must include the military not staging coups and tearing up the constitution."

In his view, Thailand must have laws strong enough to keep administrations in check and equipped with effective mechanisms to solve political conflicts without military interference.

One reader of Mr Kasit's Facebook post cast doubt over the path toward national unity.

"For the past 10 years, most quarrels have occurred between people who love and hate Thaksin," he posted. "There's no way the two groups will join hands."

The pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party is a target of verbal attacks by rival groups including the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee, while the party's ally, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, stands firm on its position of supporting Thaksin and opposes military interference in politics, which is more tolerated by the PDRC.

Worachai Hema, a former Pheu Thai MP, echoed Mr Kasit's view, saying the military is part of the conflict and it should abandon its approach to political problems by means of coups. This new attitude should be included in the MoU, he said.

Also Wednesday, NRSA member Gen Ekkachai Srivilas also said the government's move to set up a committee to oversee the national reconciliation process may not work as it is mostly made up of military personnel.

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