Friday, October 12, 2007

Citizens Keeping Their Fingers Crossed

With Thai prosecutors feeling out the extradition waters in London, Manchester City owner and ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is digging in his heels. And from the look of it, holding firm seems like the right move for Shinawatra and Thailand. Just yesterday, the country's National Security Council decided to lift martial law in 11 provinces and reimpose it in three other provinces, in a move that will take effect after it receives cabinet approval on Tuesday. As the AP reports, the military government:
rarely if ever exercised its powers under martial law, instead using the measure as a threat against possible opponents, such as supporters of Thaksin [Shinawatra], who was ousted in the bloodless Sept. 19 coup. The measure mainly empowered the military to be in charge of security and make arrests without warrants in the name of maintaining order.
How that squares with today's other big news remains to be seen. The opposition, the People Power party, drew around 25,000 people for its first major rally in Bangkok where the party promised to continue the legacy of ousted prime minister Shinawatra. It's a good bet that the fortunes of City's wealthy benefactor are intrinsically tied to the survival of democracy in Thailand. If the military and it's puppets win the proposed elections in December, Shinawatra's only hope could very well be the British government.

More importantly, if convicted of any crime, Shinawatra could be barred from owning a Premiership football club. And that would kind of put a damper on City's season, wouldn't it?

Thai prosecutors in London to press for Shinawatra extradition [Guardian]
Martial law ends in 11 provinces, returns in 3 [Bangkok Post]
Thai government to partially lift martial law imposed after 2006 coup [International Herald Tribune]


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