Bangkok — Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday said the government will leave the fate of the amnesty bill in the hands of the Senate, in her first public statement addressing the issue that has led to mounting street protests.
The bill must be passed by the Senate, which is scheduled to debate the bill on Monday, before it becomes law.
The lower house passed the bill Friday after the opposition Democrat Party walked out.
The legislation pardons all political crimes and some corruption cases between 2004 and 2013, and is widely seen as benefiting Yingluck’s brother and fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
“Within the Senate there are those opposed to the bill and those in favour of it. I think the lower house legislators who backed this bill will accept whatever the Senate decides,” said Yingluck, according to reports.
Thaksin is believed to be the de facto leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party by many people. He has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape a two-year jail sentence on an abuse of power conviction.
Critics of the bills also fear it may allow him to reclaim the 46 billion baht (US$1.6 billion) seized by courts in 2010 on corruption charges.
Yingluck said “The goal of the government is to promote reconciliation. I don’t want to see this amnesty bill become a political tool.”