Sunday, February 1, 2009

Red Shirts make four demands

(photo courtesy of

The four demands are:
1. The government to take legal action against the People's Alliance for Democracy
2. To purge Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya
3. To re-enforce the 1997 constitution
4. To dissolve the House (after the readopting the 1997 charter).

What, if anything, should the Abhisit led government do in relation to these demands?

When the PAD started making demands of the PPP government, these are some of the things I said:
September 7, 2008
'The government should not give in to the PAD, but they also have a responsibility to try to move the country forward'.
August 31, 2008
'Even if PAD do not moderate their demands, Samak and the PPP need to act in a competent and reasonable manner, which I think means they should do the following:
- Address all of the PAD concerns in a reasonable manner.
- Dismiss (with proper explanation) those demands that are unreasonable and outlandish.
- Agree that the constitutional amendment process be a consultative process with parliamentary debate, followed by a public referendum.
- Undertake a public education program outlining how they have addressed the legitimate concerns of the PAD, and also outline how the unreasonable demands are bad for democracy.
- Once the above has been done, the PPP should set a deadline for the PAD protesters to disperse, and if the PAD protesters still fail to disperse then the deadline should be enforced with appropriate/reasonable force (such as tear gas & water cannons).
Simply dismissing the PAD as an unlawful mob and falling back on its own electoral legitimacy is not good enough and in my opinion is poor governance.
It is up to the government to act in a competent and reasonable manner, even if the PAD leadership wont! '

For some reason, the PPP failed to take my advice on those occasions - I wonder why?

The rest is history!

Again, in the interests of moving the country forward, here are my suggestions to this latest set of demands by protesters:

1. PAD prosecution:
Abhisit to give clear instructions to whichever departments are in charge of the PAD prosecutions, that the charges must be laid withing 14 days, or the department heads will be removed from their positions.

2. Kasit removal:
This should be done at the same time as other cabinet reshuffles, also within 14 days
(No need to concede anything, just do it as a goodwill gesture in the interests of reconciliation)

3. Constitution:
Even if it could be done, bringing back the 1997 constitution will not resolve the problems - Regarding, the constitution, I make the same suggestion to this Democrat led government as I gave the PPP led government (see above quotes & links)

4. Dissolve the house: (Update: If only I knew more about Chumpol's 'irresistible force' at the time of the original post:)
There is no need for Abhisit to do anything on this, other than to explain that the government came to power within the rules, and that a future dissolution and elections will also be held within the rules.
He could also explain that the same people that the UDD are now complaining about were once members of the PPP led coalition, so the UDD complaints are disingenuous anyway.

As for dealing with the protests generally, my advice to the Democrat government is the same as it was to the PPP led government.

Lets see if the outcome this time is any different.

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