Cabinet lifts state of emergency

Cabinet lifts state of emergency

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attends the cabinet meeting in a wheelchair in Nakhon Pathom on Tuesday, having been diagnosed with a torn ankle ligament
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra attends the cabinet meeting in a wheelchair in Nakhon Pathom on Tuesday, having been diagnosed with a torn ankle ligament

NAKHON PATHOM - The caretaker cabinet decided on Tuesday to end the state of emergency in Bangkok and vicinity and replace it with the Internal Security Act (ISA) from Wednesday.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, centre, arrives at the Police Academy in Sam Phran district, Nakhon Pathom, on Tuesday for a cabinet meeting. The cabinet decided to left the state of emergency from Wednesday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The decision was widely expected after the Civil Court set strict conditions for the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) in handling anti-government protesters, saying their rallies to oust caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra were peaceful, in its ruling on Feb 19.

The government was also under pressure from the business sector to lift the emergency decree. They argued that it damaged the tourism industry and many travellers had decided to visit other destinations instead.

The current term of the decree had been due to expire  on March 22. It has blanketed Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Bang Phli district in Samut Prakan and Lat Lum Kaeo district in Pathum Thani since Jan 22, after the People's Democratic Reform Committee accelerated its campaign against the caretaker administration.

PM's secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva  said after the cabinet meeting at the Police Academy in Sam Phran district, Nakhon Pathom, on Tuesday that the ISA will be in force from Wednesday to April 30.

The ISA is needed to maintain law and order during the Senate election on March 30 and the reruns of the general election expected in April, he said.

Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung is the head of the CMPO and a cabinet source said he was expected to run the new Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo) to supervise the ISA.

Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith was tipped to be Capo secretary-general, the source said.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pol Gen Pracha Promnok was to hold talks with the Internal Security Operations Command on the enforcement of the ISA at the CMPO office in Bangkok later on Tuesday.

Caretaker Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak said after the meeting that the end of the state of emergency would restore travellers' confidence in Thailand. The Tourism Authority of Thailand would be assigned to campaign in other countries to attract tourists back to the kingdom, he added.


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