Interview: Government should prepare for worst scenario on Thaksin's "judgment day": Thai scholar

21:44, February 25, 2010      

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With just hours away from the so- called "judgment day" for exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, political situation will depend on the outcome of the verdict and the government should prepare for the worst scenario, a Thai scholar said Thursday.

Though Thai authorities believe Bangkok will remain largely peaceful in the coming days, tension still exist as the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a verdict on Friday that could leave 76 billion Baht (2.29 billion U.S. dollars) of Thaksin's frozen assets in state hands.

"Tomorrow will be an important day as all Thais are anxious to see how strong the evidence are and especially the urban residents who are following the case closely," Surachai Sirikrai, a political scientist at Bangkok-based Thammasat University said in an interview with Xinhua.

But if the government does not have strong evidence, Thaksin may be set free and if that happens, it will strengthen Thaksin's movement and the ex-premier will gain more popularity, the analyst said.

As for whether violence or clashes will erupt after the verdict, he said that most of the Thai people don't like violence, and strongly criticized the Songkran uprising in April.

A recent poll by Bangkok-based Assumption University says that 90 percent of the respondents want peace after Friday's verdict and 50 percent aren't expecting a speedy resolution to the political infighting.

"The UDD knows that the government are well prepared to respond to any violent incident, so to protest against the government right after the verdict is not a good strategy and they are also lack of money to hold a prolonged rally," he said.

The UDD needs hundreds of million baht to support such a large movement, for example fees for mobilizing people, communication, food and drinks, therefore they decided to postpone the mass rally to next month, he explained.

Early this week, the UDD or the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has more than once claimed that they will not hold a mass rally on the judgment day, but to encourage its red- shirts supporters to show their support at the court.

However, even the UDD said that it will hold a nationwide rally from March 12 to 14 to pressure Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve the parliament and hold a fresh election, the government should be cautious and prepare for the worst scenario, the scholar said.

The lecturer, who is also a honorable professor of Thammasat University, believes that there will be no military coup after the judgment, except that the "red-shirts" turn their rally into violence, which may put the country in the worst situation.

He added that the military will stage a coup only if they think it is necessary to maintain peace and order, not to try to gain power.

Commenting on the solution of the current political crisis, the professor said political stability is based on justice, if Thaksin returns and faces justice, everything may return to normal.

Source: Xinhua
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