Activists protest independent agencies’ role in politics

A proposal of six independent agencies for naming mediators to solve Thailand’s prolonged conflict on Tuesday has prompted a group of activists to protest the move, seen by many as controversial and partisan. 
 
A dozen student activists from Thammasat University staged a mock performance in front of the Criminal Court on Tuesday. Wearing masks resembling members of the six independent agencies, the activists condemned the agencies’ action as intervening in politics and going beyond their mandates as stipulated in the constitution.  
 

Activist reads out statement opposing the indepedent agencies' proposal
(Photo: Panumas Kotchadet)
 
The group also read out a statement opposing a petition filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, one of the independent agencies, to the Constitutional Court, which asked for the election to be annulled.
 
“As some of the 20 million people who cast their votes on Feb 2, we oppose the petition to annul the election because not only is this not the duty of the Office of the Ombudsman according to the constitution, it does not respect the voices of the people who already voted,” said Ratthapol Supasophon, a third-year economics student from Thammasat University.  
 
Members of the independent agencies including the Election Commission and the National Human Rights Commission, earlier this week came up with a “Six-Part Roadmap” which they say would resolve the political conflict and encourage negotiations between the government and the anti-government group. 
 
The agencies also sent letters to the Prime Minister and Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the anti-government protest, asking each side to nominate 10 persons as mediators. The five persons in common which were nominated by both sides would then be asked to serve as intermediaries for the negotiations, according to the proposal. 
 
Suthep however brushed off the plan after insisting on Tuesday that he would not negotiate as he said it was impossible to find a true intermediary, and he also did not trust the government’s negotiation proposals.