Thailand: Senate rejects disputed amnesty bill

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Yingluck get outThailand’s senate on November 11 unanimously rejected a contentious political amnesty bill, as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters massed in Bangkok to try to heap pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. All 141 senators present voted to kick out the legislation, which the embattled premier has already pledged not to revive.

“This house rejects this bill for consideration,” deputy speaker Surachai Lengboonlertchai said of the legislation, which critics say was aimed at helping divisive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra – Yingluck’s edler brother – return to Thailand from self-exile.

Before protest arouse, the bill has been unanimously approved in the parliament. But as an estimated 50,000 protesters remained in the city’s political center, according to police, fears of clashes with authorities heightened as street politics appeared to return to the capital.

The opposition Democrat Party has harnessed the growing anti-government sentiment, while experts say the bill has chastened the ruling Pheu Thai party and weakened Yingluck’s authority. A spokesman for her party said the ruling coalition “would not bring this (bill) back to parliament”, adding the opposition protests were now groundless.

However, anti-government forces – with the Democrats at the helm – earlier vowed to keep up their mass rally. In a tub-thumping speech to rapturous supporters, a key Democrat leader vowed to turn the heat on Yingluck’s government and urged supporters to observe a three-day nationwide strike starting on November 13.

Rallies have so far been peaceful, but concerns were mounting that the issue could unleash a fresh bout of political turmoil in a country rocked by a series of rival demonstrations since 2006. Thousands of police were deployed to protect Government House – where Yingluck’s offices are – and parliament in case protests turn ugly.

The political demonstrations will eventually affect the economy in the short term, said Kittiratt Na-Ranong, deputy prime minister and finance minister. He said that the main concern for investors is the lack of democratic principles. If the demonstrations turn violent, investors’ confidence would be “shaken tremendously”.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thailand’s senate on November 11 unanimously rejected a contentious political amnesty bill, as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters massed in Bangkok to try to heap pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. All 141 senators present voted to kick out the legislation, which the embattled premier has already pledged not to revive.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yingluck get outThailand’s senate on November 11 unanimously rejected a contentious political amnesty bill, as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters massed in Bangkok to try to heap pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. All 141 senators present voted to kick out the legislation, which the embattled premier has already pledged not to revive.

“This house rejects this bill for consideration,” deputy speaker Surachai Lengboonlertchai said of the legislation, which critics say was aimed at helping divisive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra – Yingluck’s edler brother – return to Thailand from self-exile.

Before protest arouse, the bill has been unanimously approved in the parliament. But as an estimated 50,000 protesters remained in the city’s political center, according to police, fears of clashes with authorities heightened as street politics appeared to return to the capital.

The opposition Democrat Party has harnessed the growing anti-government sentiment, while experts say the bill has chastened the ruling Pheu Thai party and weakened Yingluck’s authority. A spokesman for her party said the ruling coalition “would not bring this (bill) back to parliament”, adding the opposition protests were now groundless.

However, anti-government forces – with the Democrats at the helm – earlier vowed to keep up their mass rally. In a tub-thumping speech to rapturous supporters, a key Democrat leader vowed to turn the heat on Yingluck’s government and urged supporters to observe a three-day nationwide strike starting on November 13.

Rallies have so far been peaceful, but concerns were mounting that the issue could unleash a fresh bout of political turmoil in a country rocked by a series of rival demonstrations since 2006. Thousands of police were deployed to protect Government House – where Yingluck’s offices are – and parliament in case protests turn ugly.

The political demonstrations will eventually affect the economy in the short term, said Kittiratt Na-Ranong, deputy prime minister and finance minister. He said that the main concern for investors is the lack of democratic principles. If the demonstrations turn violent, investors’ confidence would be “shaken tremendously”.

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