The position of mediator

Until now there is not much of support for mediation in a Thailand dispute.
A proposal to have Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda take on a mediator’s role in order to resolve the political impasse may not get off the ground due to lukewarm support.

Lt Gen Pitsanu Phuttha-wong, chief of the Office of the General Prem Tinsulanonda Statesman Foundation, said Prem had learned about the proposal from the media, but did not make any specific comments on the issue. However, the aide said, the statesman believes that the group proposing the idea – like other groups – has good intentions and hopes to bring peace to the country.

A group of former senior bureaucrats called Rattha Bukkon or Man of the State, led by former supreme commander Saiyud Kerdphol, proposed that talks be brokered between leaders in all sectors to draft a covenant under Royal command on how the country should be ruled at times of crisis.

Saiyud stressed that the person playing the mediator’s role could not exercise the King’s power under the Constitution’s Article 7.

Article 7 states: “Whenever no provision under this Constitution is applicable to any case, it shall be decided in accordance with the constitutional practice in the democratic regime of the government with the King as Head of State.”

The real intention of Saiyud’s proposal is under doubt as it could be considered unconstitutional.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday rejected the proposal, saying it appeared to offer a shortcut for certain political groups that had joined hands with old “elitists” with the intention of toppling this government and setting up a new one without listening to the public majority.

“Their real intention is crystal clear. They are no different from the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee of Suthep Thaugsuban,” Prompong said at a press conference.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, meanwhile, declined to comment on the proposal, saying he did not believe Article 7 could be applied until the country enters a political vacuum – in other words, it is not applicable for as long as a caretaker PM is in power.

Abhisit said his party would definitely dispatch high-level representatives to discuss holding a new election with the Election Commission next Tuesday. The Democrats had earlier set conditions, saying they would only participate if the discussions were broadcast live and if Pheu Thai sent party leaders to attend.

Noppadon Pattama, a legal adviser to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said the Pheu Thai Party would have authorized officials attend the discussion and would set no conditions because it believes holding an election is the best solution for the country.

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