Reconciliation meant to 'absolve Thaksin'

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - The Thai government is preaching reconciliation, but that is just a smokescreen for whitewashing fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra and it will lead to deeper divisions, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.

"The Democrats will not help keep Thaksin above Thai laws," he said.

The main opposition party had no objection to defusing the political conflict but the government was manipulating the work of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand and the King Prajadhipok's Institute to rescue Thaksin, he said.

TRCT chairman Kanit na Nakorn had made it clear he would not push for the reconciliation law but the government was trying to mislead the public into believing that the TRCT backed the granting of a political pardon, he said.

Deputy PM Yongyuth Wichaidit had floated the idea of holding a public referendum on reconciliation, but how would the government phrase the question to the people.

If asked about support for reconciliation, then most people, including himself, would cast a "yes" vote. If the question was about absolving Thaksin as part of reconciliation, he believed people would reject such a notion.

A vote on Thaksin would probably be unconstitutional anyway because of the ban on holding a referendum on an individual issue. The government should strive for the greater good of the country and not move to put anyone above the rule of law, he added.

Deputy PM Yongyuth said the government was pressing forward to bring about reconciliation, which is a national and not an individual issue. He dismissed concern that the reconciliation debate was about Thaksin.

"I believe the general sentiment is in favour of reconciliation and the individual issue remains a main hurdle for building bridges but the government is not working for an individual," he said.

All sides should focus on forging understanding and acceptance instead of continuing to bicker over Thaksin, he said.

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