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Thai Public Overwhelmingly Rejects Amnesty Bill for Political and Lese-Majeste Cases

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Lawmakers attend a parliamentary session. (File photo)

The majority of people surveyed by the Secretariat of the House of Representatives are expressing strong opposition to a bill sponsored by civil society groups seeking amnesty in political and lese-majeste cases dating back to September 2006. According to the final results of the month-long online survey, a significant 64.66% of respondents rejected the bill, with only 35.34% in favor.

A total of 90,503 respondents participated in the survey from May 13 until midnight on June 12, as confirmed by the secretariat. However, supporters of the bill have raised concerns over a sudden surge of thousands of “No” votes in the final hours of the poll on Wednesday night, suggesting it might have been part of an orchestrated effort. They noted that before this spike, the opinions had been nearly balanced at 50:50.

Padipat Suntiphada, the deputy speaker of the House, expressed doubts about the validity of the results and has called for further scrutiny. “I have ordered an inspection of the IP addresses and any irregularities that occurred on the website. I would like to assure everyone that we are taking this seriously and will inform everyone of the facts soon,” Mr. Padipat, a former member of the Move Forward Party, wrote on his X account on Thursday.

The draft bill was proposed by Poonsuk Poonsukcharoen from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and seconded by 36,723 people, before being submitted to parliament for consideration. This bill aims to cover related cases from September 19, 2006, when Gen Sonthi Boonyaratklin staged a coup against the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, up until the present day.

Should the bill pass, it would establish a committee to review the cases and determine which ones would qualify for instant amnesty. This includes violations under the lese-majeste law, orders of the National Council for Peace and Order, and the 2016 referendum law, which effectively banned dissenting opinions on a military-drafted constitution.

The review committee would be comprised of 19 members, including the parliament president, opposition leader, chief whip, representatives from all political parties, and representatives of those who have faced legal action since the 2006 coup. However, the bill does not extend to state authorities who used excessive force during political protests or individuals who violated Section 113 of the Criminal Code. Section 113 addresses acts of force or threats with the intent to change the constitution, overthrow the legislature, government or judicial powers, divide the Kingdom of Thailand or seize administrative power.

Independent academic Pat Hemasuk has called on all political parties to respect the survey results, highlighting that the majority of people do not want wrongdoers to get away unpunished. He also cautioned the ruling Pheu Thai Party that moving forward with the amnesty bid could jeopardize their seats in the next general election.

Particularly, Pheu Thai’s stance on the amnesty proposal is under close scrutiny, as Thaksin Shinawatra, widely seen as the party’s de facto leader, currently faces lese-majeste and computer crime charges. Thaksin has reportedly sought “fair treatment” from the Office of the Attorney General, alleging that police handling the initial complaint in 2015 were pressured by the military regime that staged a coup in 2014.


  1. Liam Chan June 13, 2024

    It’s suspicious that so many ‘No’ votes suddenly appeared. This stinks of manipulation!

    • Nina June 13, 2024

      Well, maybe people realized how dangerous it might be to grant amnesty for such serious offenses.

      • Liam Chan June 13, 2024

        Or maybe the survey was tampered with. We need transparency!

      • grower134 June 13, 2024

        Everything nowadays is a conspiracy, isn’t it?

    • Tanya K. June 13, 2024

      I agree, Liam. The spike in ‘No’ votes does seem fishy. Oversight is crucial.

      • Robert June 13, 2024

        But how can we trust any result? Everyone always thinks the others are cheating.

  2. Pat June 13, 2024

    If this bill passes, it will create a dangerous precedent. We shouldn’t let political criminals off the hook!

    • Siwat June 13, 2024

      But isn’t it also unfair to continue punishing people for political reasons? Some of these laws are ridiculous!

      • Pat June 13, 2024

        True, some laws are harsh, but accountability matters. We can debate the laws separately.

      • grower134 June 13, 2024

        @Siwat, that’s why we need the review committee, to decide case by case.

    • Naomi Watts June 13, 2024

      Political crimes should have a statute of limitations. We need to move forward as a society.

      • Pat June 13, 2024

        That sounds nice, but some wounds take a long time to heal. Let’s not rush it.

  3. Tiger45 June 13, 2024

    Thai lawmakers shouldn’t bow to mob pressure. Rule of law must prevail.

    • Ken Tan June 13, 2024

      Calling it ‘mob pressure’ overlooks that this is a genuine people’s movement for justice.

    • Lily Davis June 13, 2024

      Exactly, Ken! It’s about democracy. People want fair treatment for everyone.

  4. Hannah M. June 13, 2024

    The real issue here is the lese-majeste law. It should be amended!

    • Robert June 13, 2024

      Good luck with that. It’s a deeply entrenched part of Thailand’s legal and cultural framework.

    • Nina June 13, 2024

      You’re right, Hannah. But it’s a sensitive topic. Changing it would be a huge battle.

      • grower134 June 13, 2024

        One step at a time. Amending the law could be a long-term goal.

  5. Jakob June 13, 2024

    64.66% opposed is a clear majority. Respect the people’s voice!

    • Ananya June 13, 2024

      Except if the poll was manipulated, it’s not really the people’s voice, is it?

      • Jakob June 13, 2024

        There’s no concrete evidence of tampering, just suspicions.

  6. Maya T. June 13, 2024

    Why can’t we all agree this bill isn’t perfect, but at least it’s a step toward reconciliation?

    • username123 June 13, 2024

      Because some people benefit from the division and chaos. This bill threatens their power.

      • Tiger45 June 13, 2024

        It’s not about power; it’s about justice for serious crimes.

    • Nina June 13, 2024

      Reconciliation is great, but it can’t come at the expense of justice. We need balance.

  7. Ananda June 13, 2024

    I’m skeptical of any amnesty related to the 2006 coup. Too many hidden agendas.

    • Ken Tan June 13, 2024

      Transparency from the committee will be key. We need all eyes on the process.

  8. Lily Davis June 13, 2024

    Thaksin’s influence on Pheu Thai is too strong. That alone should disqualify the bill!

  9. grower134 June 13, 2024

    Not necessarily, Lily. We should judge the bill on its merits, not just who supports it.

  10. EkaL123 June 13, 2024

    Protesting the bill is futile. Let the process take its course.

  11. Joe June 13, 2024

    Both sides are too stubborn. We need a middle ground here.

    • Tanya K. June 13, 2024

      Indeed, compromise is necessary. But what does that look like?

  12. Nina June 13, 2024

    Considering all aspects, looks like the house will need to revise this bill significantly before it even gets close to passing.

  13. Liam Chan June 13, 2024

    At the end of the day, all we want is fairness. If the bill can ensure that, why not?

  14. Robert June 13, 2024

    The political landscape in Thailand is too fragile for risky bills like this. Tread carefully, lawmakers!

  15. Melissa June 13, 2024

    Involving the parliament president and opposition leader in the committee is vital for any chance of unbiased oversight.

  16. Kristie June 13, 2024

    What about the victims of lese-majeste laws? This bill could be their only shot at justice.

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