ASIA/THAILAND - Student protests: Parliament sets up "committee of experts"

Friday, 13 November 2020 politics   students   youth   civil society   social situation   human rights   democracy  

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - Although there are no longer protest marches in the squares of the capital Bangkok and other Thai cities, the situation in the country remains tense after nine months of public demonstrations, marked by the request for the resignation of the Prime Minister, a constitutional reform and a revision of the monarch's powers.
With a relaxing gesture, King Rama X, during a visit to the city of Udon Thani, carried out in recent days, seems to have wanted to respond, although indirectly, to the demonstrators who, on November 8, approached the Royal Palace before being rejected by the police. The message came from the Free Youth Movement which seems to have spread beyond the student world. The king, without mentioning the protest, wrote in a letter to the governor of the city: "We love and care for one another. Take care of the country and let us help each other in a friendly manner to protect the Thai prosperity and identity of the country". The monarch had made similar public comments on November 1st, saying that he loves all Thais "equally" and that Thailand is a land of compromise. These are gestures of detente, partly appreciated, but are not decisive in overcoming the political crisis that Parliament is going through, where Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-cha has confirmed that he wishes to remain in his seat as Prime Minister.
In response to the protest, Parliament launched a so-called "committee of experts" to initiate a possible process for revising the Constitutional Charter. This process also includes a popular referendum and will therefore take a long time. Even the formation of the Committee does not seem simple at all: the opposition parties do not intend to participate for the time being. According to press sources, the committee is now said to include three former prime ministers: Anand Panyarachun, General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Abhisit Vejjajiva. The two-time Prime Minister Panyarachun took office on March 2, 1991, a week after the coup d'état organized by the military junta. Abhisit Vejjajiva a representative of the Democratic Party, was blamed for the deaths of dozens of protesters in Bangkok during the April and May 2010 incidents. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was Prime Minister of Thailand from November 1996 to November 1997. The former military representative had questioned the 1991 military coup and the subsequent 1992 elections that brought General Suchinda Kraprayoon to power. (MG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/11/2020)