Thailand's red shirts feel betrayed

Thailand's red shirts feel betrayed

THAILAND - Four red-shirt Pheu Thai MPs, including Weng Tojirakarn, abstained from voting for the controversial amnesty bill yesterday.

Red-shirt MP Korkaew Pikulthong, however, did vote in support of the bill. He later posted a message on his Facebook account saying he had voted as a Pheu Thai MP and not as a red-shirt co-leader.

"Out of respect for the voice of the majority, I have never opposed the opinion of the majority as a red-shirt co-leader whenever there's a resolution, even if I may personally disagree … To red-shirt brothers and sisters who are upset with me, you can criticise or curse me as much as you like and I accept it and would like to apologise for having a different opinion on the matter. But this is my frank confession."

A highly placed source said former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra might decide it is time to break with the so-called progressive red shirts who oppose the lese majeste law as they have become a liability in the reconciliation process with the traditional elite.

The source also said Thaksin felt the relatives of those killed in 2010 had already received Bt7.5 million (S$298 million) each and some red-shirt co-leaders had become MPs or been appointed to other government positions.

In a special session of the House of Representatives, lawmakers voted 310:0 to pass the third reading of the bill early yesterday. Four Pheu Thai MPs - Nuttawut Saikuar, Weng Tojirakarn, Worachai Hema and Khattiya Sawasdipol - abstained from the vote.

Seven Pheu Thai MPs who are also red-shirt leaders voted in support of the amnesty bill. They are Korkaew Pikulthong, Cherdchai Tontisirin, Apiwan Wiriyachai, Wiphuthalang Phattanaphumthai, Phayap Punket, Shinawatra Haboonpad and Prasit Chaisisa.

All of them are party-list MPs, except Prasit, who is a Surin MP.

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