(6 November) An opinion survey conducted in 20 Northeastern provinces reveals that a majority of respondents wants to see former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stand trial for his role in the deadly 2010 crackdown.
Mr. Abhisit and his Deputy Prime Minister at the time, Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, have been charged with murders by the Division of Special Investigation for their authorisation of the military crackdown against the Redshirts protests in Bangkok which resulted in the deaths of more than 90 people, most of them civilians.
The ?blanket amnesty? proposed by Pheu Thai Party to the Parliament would dissolve Mr. Abhisit and Mr. Suthep of their charges, while former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, the brother of PM Yingluck Shinawatra, would also be cleansed of his corruption convictions.
But the survey, conducted upon 1,190 subjects by Isaan Poll, indicates that 72.5% of the respondents prefer to see Mr. Abhisit and his former deputy face the court prosecution, whereas only 14.4% wants them to receive amnesty.
Additionally, only 36.7% of the respondents agrees with an amnesty plan for Mr. Thaksin.
As for their opinion toward ?amnesty for all? proposed by the government, a majority of 46.6% of the respondents say they are against it.
The evident lack of support for the government-sponsored Amnesty Bill is particularly striking as the Northeastern region, or Isaan, has long been known as a major stronghold of Pheu Thai Party and the Redshirts movements.
In what promises to be an alarming fact for Pheu Thai Party, the survey also indicates that the support for the ruling party among the regional population has dropped from 44% to 34% in the wake of the attempt by the government to pursue the blanket amnesty.
The survey was published at a time when Redshirts movements appeared to be increasingly alienated by the Pheu Thai Party and the government. Many prominent Redshirts leaders and activists have condemned the ?blanket amnesty?, accusing the Pheu Thai Party of reneging on their vows to hold those responsible for 2010 crackdown accountable.
Facing widespread discontent from both allies and enemies of the government, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday announced that the government would not contest the Senate′s decision if it chooses to reject the ?amnesty for all? draft, virtually signaling that the Pheu Thai Party has given up its effort to pursue the bill.