The move last week by a group of Pheu Thai MPs to once again change the details of the political amnesty bill deserves strong condemnation. The terms of their revised amnesty bill are mostly unacceptable, but the manner in which they made a secret deal and then rammed the measure through a committee vote was shamelessly anti-democratic. It is a political time bomb.
The amnesty issue is proof the devil is in the details. It seems clear that virtually all Thais favour some form of forgiveness for political acts over the past decade. The nation appears agreed in principle that most participants in demonstrations, protests and similar acts are blameless for any violence that occurs.
"Most" is not "all", and there is no sign the entire nation agrees with the Pheu Thai MPs who decided last week to try to push through a blanket amnesty. Strong opinion persists that an amnesty for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is unacceptable. Equally, an important part of the nation opposes legal forgiveness for ex-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva and his top ministers and aides for their roles in the 2010 Bangkok violence.
The attorney-general is to announce presently whether to charge Mr Abhisit and his deputy prime minister at the time, Suthep Thaugsuban, with murder. These are not trivial cases to be disposed of through an undemocratic vote from a minority of MPs, whose motives, one must assume, are to whitewash Thaksin, no matter what the political cost.
Ms Yingluck came to power in 2011 after a single-pronged election campaign. That theme was reunification _ a mix of easing the national red-yellow divide, while restoring the underlying unity of being Thai. Her promises and campaign rhetoric far surpassed her performance. She has faltered at every step of what could easily have been a fluid campaign of reunification.
No failure, however, has matched the incoherent, leaderless attempt to aid closure via an amnesty. Last week's parliamentary surprise is only the latest step in an astonishing series of amnesty shocks. These have ranged from appointing those who would benefit from an amnesty, to recommending rules, to the refusal of the prime minister herself to take any part in the process.
The public will have to shoulder the results of an amnesty, which by definition is an end run around both justice and the rule of law. Ms Yingluck not only claimed she was unaware of last week's blatant change to both the letter and spirit of the approach to an amnesty. She said, again, that the entire issue was up to parliament.
This is a direct contradiction of her election campaign promise. The dictatorship of the parliamentary majority is a slap in the face of democracy, where decisions are taken after debate _ not as a result of subterfuge and backroom deals.
More importantly, Ms Yingluck's careful avoidance of the amnesty issue is nothing less than her abdicating her duty to lead the country. She must also be prepared to justify important decisions, and agree to be held accountable for their result. She is the one who promised reunification; now she is trying to sidestep the issue with the unbelievable claim it is not her responsibility.
Last week's unacceptable subversion of the parliamentary process makes it mandatory for the prime minister to become involved. As both a member of parliament and the premier, she must take a stand on this issue. Clearly, there are Pheu Thai MPs willing to ignore the public, undermine normal procedures and use tricks and subterfuge to get their way. Ms Yingluck needs to act, and involve the nation in this highly important, contentious legislation.
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