Thailand PM promises constitutional reforms after lifting state of emergency

[JURIST] Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva [BBC profile] lifted the emergency rule decree [text, PDF] Friday and promised constitutional reforms to bring stability back to Thailand after months of protests and violence. The state of emergency [JURIST report], which went into force on April 11, was an attempt to control the actions of Red Shirts, supporters of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], and members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship party. Abhisit has given permission to begin an inquiry into the violent clashes, in which two died and more than 100 were injured. The search also continues for Shinawatra himself, who was last sighted in Liberia [Reuters report] meeting with Vice President Joseph Boakai on Friday to discuss business opportunities. Shinawatra, whose Thai passport has been revoked, is traveling on a Nicaraguan passport and avoiding nations where he may be extradited to Thailand to face two years imprisonment on a conflict of interest charge. A warrant for his arrest [JURIST report] was issued by a Thai court last week. In Bangkok, the Red Shirts have planned a protest [Bangkok Post report] for Saturday.

Abhisit took over as prime minister in December, after the Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website, in Thai] ordered the dissolution [JURIST report] of the ruling People's Power Party (PPP) [party website, in Thai], and banned then-prime minister Somchai Wongsawat [Nation profile] from politics for five years as the result of an election fraud investigation. Shinawatra, ousted as prime minister [JURIST report] in a 2006 military coup, was convicted on corruption charges [JURIST reports] by the Supreme Court of Thailand in October.

 

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