Members of the deposed government of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra are considering forming a government in exile following last week’s military coup, a senior legal adviser has said, fuelling speculation that Cambodia could play host.
Robert Amsterdam, legal counsel to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (Yingluck’s influential brother), and the United National Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as the “red shirts”, said in a statement on Friday that “a number of foreign governments have already expressed their willingness to host such a government in exile under internationally established rules and practice”.
Given its geographical proximity and historic ties to the Shinawatra clan, Cambodia was immediately floated by foreign media outlets as an ideal location. Phnom Penh is little more than an hour by plane from Bangkok, and Prime Minister Hun Sen has welcomed Thaksin warmly in the past.
But senior members of the government and ruling party yesterday rejected the possibility of hosting any such government in exile, citing the constitution, which stipulates “permanent neutrality and nonalignment” and pledges noninterference, either directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of other states.
“I think whoever feels that Cambodia is an option for a Thai exile government … it is not feasible, firstly because of our constitution, and secondly because we have a comprehensive regional mechanism as well as international [mechanisms],” Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith was more blunt.
“We can’t allow such a government on our soil,” he said in a message posted on Facebook.
Since last week’s coup, the government here has been careful to maintain a neutral stance on Thai political issues, but has said it hopes the current military rule will be “transitional”.
General Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, head of the Thai army, has assumed all lawmaking powers in Thailand. Yingluck, fellow politicians and family members were detained by the military, though several media outlets reported last night that the former prime minister had been released.
Earlier this month, before the coup, Hun Sen spearheaded an ASEAN declaration that called for the Thai political situation to be resolved via dialogue and urging “full respect of democratic principles”.
When reached yesterday, Amsterdam, Thaksin’s lawyer, declined to confirm whether Cambodia had been contacted about the government-in-exile proposal.
“We are not discussing anything more than the fact that we are actively considering this. We are not making any statements yet. The situation in Thailand is incredibly fluid. We are preparing but we are not declaring,” he said in a phone interview. Continue reading “#THAILAND #CAMBODIA #EXILE GOVERNMENT”