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Thai talk: The unlikely scenario called a National Reconciliation Govt


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THAI TALK
The unlikely scenario called a National Reconciliation Govt

Suthichai Yoon
The Nation

BANGKOK: -- Amnesty. National reconciliation. Reform. These phrases have stirred a new round of debate just as the National Reform Council (NRC) has begun work on drawing up what is supposed to be Thailand's long-term road map back to "sustainable democracy".

The main question is: Can reform be achieved without genuine reconciliation and can reconciliation materialise without some kind of an amnesty?

The answers are clear - as pointed out by Dr Anek Laothammathat, who has been tasked with the responsibility of effecting national reconciliation under the NRC. His initial proposal, to consider an amnesty plan for those involved in the political conflicts, has come under attack from critics who suspect a "conspiracy" to clear leading politicians of their guilt.

Dr Anek has since denied that he was proposing an all-embracing amnesty. He suggested that only those engaged in political activities should be cleared of guilt, while those found to have violated criminal law or to have been behind violent acts should still be subject to the due process of law.

The well-known academic has raised another controversial idea: National reconciliation can't happen without a "national reconciliation government". Of course, Dr Anek wasn't unaware of the uproar that this recommendation might raise. But he insisted that "facts must be faced, however controversial they may be" to move the country forward and overcome the current stalemate.

The one-year reform process isn't going to produce any long-lasting solutions. That's a given fact. If elections are held under the current timeline (within one year to 16 months), the same old conflicts will almost certainly flare up again - and the spectre of old confrontations, possibly renewed violence, will rear its ugly head one more time.

The concept of a national unity government smacks of collusion. It goes against the principle of a checks-and-balances system. Cynics may even conjure up a picture of a thinly veiled plot to extend the life of the current coup-backed interim government.

But without a clear plan to bridge the dangerous political divide of the past decade, the proposal to have all political parties and non-political groups form a "national unity administration" as part of the "transition" towards long-term reform might not be such a far-fetched idea.

It is, however, a foregone conclusion that the concept will meet with strong opposition, especially from the prevailing political parties, who believe they can win the next election and thereby claim the "people's mandate" to run the country the way they want.

But the coup hasn't resolved the deep-rooted conflicts among various political groups and vested interests. Corruption remains a serious problem - and vote-buying will return in full force no matter what electoral system is incorporated in the new constitution being drafted.

The existing political groups haven't learned lessons from the "lost decade". Neither have they managed to bring in a new generation of politicians who have any real conviction towards serving the public interest. What's worse, very few of the country's "best and brightest" are ready to jump headlong into politics just yet, because it is still seen as a dirty game played mostly by corrupt and selfish people who know how to get votes but not how to move the country forward.

A "national reconciliation government" might prove to be a necessary "transition station" - a new training ground - to compel politicians and technocrats, both old and new, of various affiliations to work together to form a common platform that will ensure stability and continuity before embarking on a genuine democratic system in which divergent views don't end up becoming irreconcilable conflicts that plunge the nation back into another crisis.

The idea might not come to pass. But other options being discussed at the moment don't seem to offer any hope of a more enlightened political system for the country once the "Thailand under reconstruction" sign is removed.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/The-unlikely-scenario-called-a-National-Reconcilia-30251902.html

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-- The Nation 2015-01-15

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The main question is: Can reform be achieved without genuine reconciliation and can reconciliation materialise without some kind of an amnesty?

So why all the discussion about amnesty? Everyone knows that no one is ever held accountable for their illegal activities in their efforts to get their place in the governmental feeding trough.

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Quote "What's worse, very few of the country's "best and brightest" are ready to jump headlong into politics just yet, because it is still seen as a dirty game played mostly by corrupt and selfish people who know how to get votes but not how to move the country forward."

So very sadly true.

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The Amnesty bill in it's first form would have been a big step towards reconciliation.

Unfortunately Pheu-Thai (under orders from Thaksin) ruined everything by changing it at the eleventh hours to include all criminal charges against him since 2004 then forcing it through Parliament in the early hours.

These are the simple facts - and the fact I have never seen a single intelligent comment defending the above from a red-shirt, they know it too - but their immense hypocrisy allow them to ignore it. You can lay the blame for everything since (including the coup) right at this act of treachery and selfishness.

What a great leader he is ... NOT.

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A "national reconciliation government"

Maybe Thailand should invite North Korean government officials to show the Junta/NLA/NRC how to achieve national reconciliation without having the mandate of the people. The military would have to triple its size, budget, and number of senior officers but I'm sure it would be willing to make the effort - for the sake of national security of course.

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