Seems like the soothsayers are predicting correctly that Thaksin will not win the coming elections.
With some luck, he may be able to escape heavy penalty. Already some 80,000 eligible voters across the country have signed a petition calling for Thaksin’s impeachment.
Last Friday, Thailand's university students’ network led by students at Thammasat University submitted the petition to Deputy Speaker of the Senate Sahas Pindhusenee on the grounds of “alleged misconduct against his civil service position and duties in the tax-free Bt73 billion sell-off of Shin Corp's shares to Singapore's Temasek Holdings and his alleged intention to conceal his assets in connection with the transfer of his shares in Ample Rich Investment to his children”, the Thai News Agency reported.
As at least 50,000 persons are required by the constitution to launch an impeachment bid, there is a high possibility that the impeachment process could proceed if the Senate finds the signatories eligible to make such a complaint.
Moreover, the Criminal Court is scheduled to conclude a case involving Thaksin’s former cable broadcaster IBC partner, William L Monson. Thaksin’s 1995 civil claim against Monson backfired when “the court of first instance and an appeal ruled in favour of Monson, prompting him to lodge a counter-claim against Thaksin, Pojamarn and others for alleged perjury”, the Nation said.
Thaksin’s woes continue unabated as the Thai Rak Thai party may be dissolved by the Constitution Courtbecause of breach of election laws. Within the party itself there are power struggles, while Thaksin's allies may well abandon him to save their own skin. Even his military backing is undermined by the reshuffling of key personnel out of Bangkok.
The TRT rivals –Democrat and Chat Thai –parties are already waiting eagerly in the wings, hoping to form the next government. Chat Thai deputy leader Weerasak Kowsurat told the media that his party is ready to assume leadership. He stressed that “the next government's main mission would be to carry out political reform, not to administer”, and that “voters should be reminded of party leader Banharn Silapa-archa's reform credentials and vote for Chat Thai”, he told the Nation.
Democrat spokesman Ong-art Klampaiboon, also announced that the party is anticipating the election and has full confidence in its honest leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva. Ong-art said, “We are confident that Abhisit will be a suitable prime minister given the country's [political] crisis and we believe the people will support him.”
Despite Thaksin’s troubles, his TRT party still holds majority favour. An Assumption University (Abac) poll released over the weekend showed that 84.3% of the 11,091 respondents in 33 provinces would exercise their vote, while 29.2% would abstain. Of those who would vote, almost 49% supported the TRT, while only 42.5% would support the Democrat, Chat Thai or Mahachon parties.
The political uncertainty in Thailand looks set to remain as political events continue to unfold with its twists and turns.
Embattled TRT still holds edge over opposition: poll (The Nation, 31 July 2006)
Parties ready to govern (The Nation, 31 July 2006)
'Black October' is on horizon for Thaksin (The Nation, 31 July 2006)
PAD plans more rallies if Thaksin won't quit (Bangkok Post, 31 July 2006)
Students submit voters petition to impeach PM Thaksin (Thai News Agency, 28 July 2006)