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Pheu Thai risks charges over public criticism of junta

May 17. 2018
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THE National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday pursued legal cases against the Pheu Thai Party after the party read out a statement blaming the ruling junta for failing to properly govern the country in its nearly four years in power.

Some military officers went to notify the police at the Crime Suppression Division.

The move came as the junta government, which has come under increasing criticism for having accomplished little despite the long spell of military rule, plans to launch a “reform festival” next month as its major PR event regarding its much-hyped reform agenda.

The NCPO’s legal officer, Colonel Burin Thongprapai, said that the Pheu Thai statement could have violated the junta ban on political party activities and political gatherings of five or more people. As the statement was read via Facebook Live, they could be deemed to have violated the computer crime act, Burin said.

At yesterday’s press conference held under police surveillance, only three key Pheu Thai officials were on-stage to read the statement in order to avoid breaking the junta’s political ban on the gathering of five or more people. The five-page statement, issued as the NCPO is about to complete its fourth anniversary in power, accuses the junta of failing to achieve key promises, including reconciliation, dealing with corruption, protecting rights and democracy and improving the economy.

“They declared that they would reform the political structure but ended up with a Constitution and organic laws that pull democracy far backward and destroy the political party system,” said the statement. “They declared they would reform the economic and social structure but ended up making people poorer. They have not had tangible success with a single reform agenda, despite having invested much of the budget.”

It also slammed NCPO leader PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha for “failing to show leadership and delaying the election several times and aiming to stay in power for the long-term despite earlier promises”.

“The past four years under the NCPO will take the country into a dark and dangerous future,” it added.

“It is the duty of all Thai people to return to a constitutional monarchy and not allow the absolute regime to destroy democracy any further.”

The junta government is preparing to open a festival on June 6 to raise public awareness of its reform agenda through discussions on 11 aspects of reforms, to be tentatively held at CentralWorld department store. 

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