Thursday, August 07, 2008

What's next in the Shin Trial saga?

So imagine you are Thaksin Shiniwat right now.

Your wife has been sentenced to jail, and you are facing a series of corruption charges, yet amazingly you have been allowed to leave the country and so has your wife!!!

Hmmm.....things seem very convenient all round.

The way I see it, these are the possible outcomes of the ongoing Shin trials:

1) Thaksin is cleared of all charges.

Remarkably unlikely. This would be a massive loss of face for Sondhi - and therefore the military by association - and the junta designed AEC. There is also an extremely strong chance that some of the "unseen hands" as Thais call them would be most unhappy. The PAD would take to the streets and would see a likely increase in support. Tensions would rise.

2) Thaksin is found guilty but just given a fine.

A distinct possibility but would not seem to help any matters. The PAD and those against Thaksin would see it is a trade off and would feel Thaksin and his cronies would scheme for a comeback. Thaksin would be angry over his loss of cash and face and his supporters would still be wary of the PAD demonstrations. This outcome would be the political equivalent of a goalless draw.

3) Thaksin is sentenced to jail.

Probably the most just decision but a risky one. It would require nerves of steel on behalf of the courts, the military and the unseen hands. The anger of the many Thaksin's supporters in the villages as well as in parliament would be raised further by the inevitable celebrations and gloating in Bangkok. The PPP and its associates would set themselves on a comeback for Thaksin and clashes would be inevitable It would be a victory for transparency but at what cost?

4) Thaksin jumps bail and flees.

How convenient for everyone. The elite get shot of the man they hate. The PAD are shot of the one they dislike, the military save face, the judges can breathe again and nobody has to worry about mass security threats? What will happen to the seized cash? Perhaps it's best not to ask?

So it seems that perhaps Potjaman Shiniwatra being allowed to leave Thailand whilst on bail from a three year jail sentence might not have been such a poorly considered move by the courts after all. Potjaman left Thailand today - ostensibly to go see the opening of the Beijing Olympics - with six large bags.

What odds on her return?

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