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Decision day for PM edging closer

Posted by pakin On May - 6 - 2014 Comments Off on Decision day for PM edging closer

EC to draft election decree, as Abhisit presents report and court hearing begins

Many political players and stakeholders will make moves today in the rush to reach a solution to end the unrest that has loomed large over the country for months. The Election Commission will prepare the draft for a royal decree to call another election.

Opposition party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will submit to the commission his plan to delay the poll and install a non-elected interim government.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the protesters and all other political parties will also receive the plan in detail and have been asked to act on their parts in the plan.

EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said that if the five-member commission agreed on the election decree, it would be submitted to the Cabinet without delay. The EC and the government last week agreed to schedule July 20 as the election date.

The EC members would also consider Abhisit’s idea to break the political impasse, he said.

Abhisit asked the EC to change some laws and regulations to have harsher penalties for electoral fraud and prohibi

BANGKOK, April 19 – Sixty-four political parties have accepted an invitation from the Election Commission (EC) to a meeting Tuesday to discuss preparations for the next general election, a senior official said.
EC secretary general Puchong Nutrawong said three parties – Kasikorn Thai, Pheu Fah Din and Thai Maharat Pattana – refused to attend the forum.
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will be accompanied by his deputy Chamni Sakdiset while ruling Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan informed the EC that he would join the meeting with Pokin Pollakul, the party’s strategic executive.
Mr Puchong said the EC would discuss timing for the next nationwide polls which could be held in 60 days, 90 days or 120 days after the promulgation of the election decree.
Conclusions from the meeting will be raised with the state security sector and the caretaker government, he said.
Meanwhile, executives of 30 small political parties met at a Bangkok hotel yesterday and agreed that the general election should be held on June 15.
They proposed three possible candidates as Thailand’s next prime minister – Phongthep Thepkanjana, Supachai Panitchpakdi and Dr Boon Vanasin – on the condition that they must be first elected to the House of Representatives.
The group of 30 small political parties will all join the EC-initiated meeting on Tuesday. (MCOT online news)

Turkey PM Erdogan claims election victory

Posted by Nuttapon_S On March - 31 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in a local election, and vowed that his enemies would “pay the price”.

Mr Erdogan’s government has been accused of authoritarianism and corruption after a string of scandals.

The local election, the first vote since mass protests last June, was seen as a barometer of his popularity.

Mr Erdogan was not standing for election but campaigned hard for his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

With about a half of the votes counted, it was leading the main opposition party 45% to 27%.

The AKP had been aiming to equal or better its 38.8% share of the vote in 2009.

AKP officials and supporters were celebrating victory long before Mr Erdogan’s announcement.

Voting in the local assembly and mayoral elections passed off peacefully in most areas, but eight people were reportedly killed in two separate incidents involving supporters of rival candidates.

Feuding families were said to have clashed in the southern city of Hatay and the eastern province of Sanliurfa.

The prime minister has been eyeing a run for the presidency in August – the first time voters will directly elect the head of state – or may seek to change the rules to allow him to seek a fourth term in office.

Online ‘misinformation’

In the run-up to Sunday’s poll, the government blocked Twitter and YouTube, following a series of online leaks.

Mr Erdogan said social media was spreading misinformation.

On Saturday pro- and anti-government factions held rival demonstrations in Istanbul, which saw the Gezi Park protests of May and June last year.

Electoral officers empty a ballot box as they prepare to count votes at a polling station in Ankara
Polls closed and vote-counting began at 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT)
Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer and wave flags outside the party's headquarters in Ankara
Supporters and officials of the ruling AKP are already celebrating the early results

The secular opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is fighting to win the Istanbul mayor’s office from Mr Erdogan’s ally Kadir Topbas. However, early results put the AKP ahead in the sprawling metropolis.

Mr Erdogan is a former mayor of the city and the vote has become an unofficial referendum on his administration. The prime minister himself has described the vote as a struggle for Turkey’s independence, our correspondent says.

The race looked tighter in the capital Ankara, with Erdogan’s party narrowly leading the CHP.

The loss of either city would be a major embarrassment for the prime minister.

“What the people say goes,” Mr Erdogan said after casting his ballot in Istanbul on Sunday. “The people’s decision is respected.”

More than 50 million people are eligible to vote, and turnout appeared to be high.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday
At a rally in Istanbul on Saturday, the prime minister urged voters to give the opposition “an Ottoman slap”
Activists listen to the leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, on 29 March 2014.
Crowds gathered for a rival rally by the opposition Republican People’s Party in Istanbul on Saturday too

‘Foreign plot’

The prime minister has purged hundreds of people from the judiciary and police since several of his allies were arrested over a corruption scandal in December.

He has accused the judiciary of being behind a series of wiretaps and social media leaks allegedly exposing major corruption, and blamed the probe on a “foreign plot”.

The scandal has pitted the prime minister against a former ally, US-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who has many supporters in the police and judiciary.

Mr Erdogan accuses Mr Gulen of using his supporters in the police and judiciary for a “dirty campaign” to try to topple him.

Mr Gulen denies the allegations but those close to the movement, known as Hizmet (“Service”), say they fear a crackdown after the elections.

The Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to power in 2002 on a platform of eradicating the corruption that blights Turkish life.

It came to power backed by a pious Muslim base looking for greater standing in a country that historically favoured a secular elite, and has ruled during a period of prosperity.

The government faced major street protests last year sparked by plans to raze Istanbul’s Gezi Park and redevelop it. The police crackdown galvanised anti-government demonstrators in several cities.

The anger which led to the unrest flared up again earlier this month, with the news of the death of a 15-year-old boy who had been in a coma since last June after being hit by a tear gas canister during a protest.

Thailand election disrupted by protests

Posted by Nuttapon_S On February - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Protests have disrupted Thailand’s general election, halting voting in parts of Bangkok and the south, but officials say that 89% of polling stations operated normally.

Some six million registered voters were affected by the closures, the Election Commission said.

PM Yingluck Shinawatra called the vote to head off weeks of mass protests.

Her party is widely expected to win but legal challenges and a lack of a quorum of MPs may create a political limbo.

‘I want to vote’

Security has been heavy throughout Thailand, with vast areas under a state of emergency.

“The situation overall is calm and we haven’t received any reports of violence this morning,” National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabutr told Reuters.

Security officials said about 130,000 personnel had been deployed across Thailand on Sunday, including 12,000 in Bangkok.

There has been little campaigning for the election and it was unclear how many Thais had turned out.

Ms Yingluck, who won the last election in 2011, voted soon after polls opened near her Bangkok home.

She told the BBC it was important that people came out to vote to exercise their democratic right.

But protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said the government would be unable to declare a result because of the closures, adding: “Therefore the election is a waste of time and money.”

Protests prevented voting from taking place in 438 of Bangkok’s 6,671 polling stations, and there was no voting at all in nine southern provinces.

The government said there was no disruption in the north and north-east of the country.

Ms Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party has overwhelming support in these regions, while the south and parts of the capital are strongholds of the opposition Democrat Party, which is boycotting the election.

The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says demonstrators blocked access to voters at some polling stations in the capital and prevented ballot papers reaching those polling stations.

Some voters expressed frustration when they found their local polling stations blocked.

Voter demands to cast ballot in Bangkok, 2 Feb
A woman demands to cast her vote in Bangkok
Anti-government protesters in Bangkok, 2 Feb
Anti-government protesters tried to block the delivery of ballot boxes
Voters at Bangkok polling station, 2 February 2014
Bangkok’s Din Daeng district office was one place where polling was called off

“This is too much. I want to vote,”‘ 42-year-old Yupin Pintong told the Associated Press news agency. “I don’t care if there’s violence. I will be really upset if I don’t get to vote.”

Anti-government activist Nipon Kaewsook told Reuters: “We’re not blocking the election. We’re postponing it. We still need an election, but we need reform first.”

One high-profile politician, independent candidate and anti-corruption campaigner Chuwit Kamolvisit, brawled with anti-election activists.

“They tried to attack me while I was trying to vote,” he said.

Legal challenges

Ms Yingluck’s opponents took to the streets in November after her government tried to pass an amnesty law that would potentially have allowed her brother, Thaksin, to return from exile.

Thaksin, a former prime minister who fled during a court case in 2008, is reviled by the protesters, who say he controls the government from abroad.

Disruption to candidate registration means that even if Ms Yingluck wins the election, there will not be enough MPs in parliament for her to have full power over government policy, and by-elections will be needed.

The opposition is also likely to mount legal challenges to the election.

Ms Yingluck’s party is already facing a host of challenges in the courts aiming to disband it, as has happened with pro-Thaksin parties in the past.

The Democrat Party, which is allied to the protesters, has been unable to win a majority in parliament for more than two decades.

Many of its members want the government to be replaced by an unelected “people’s council” that would oversee wide reform of the political system.