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Thaksin courts taxi drivers

Posted by arnon_k On May - 7 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Pheu Thai Party de facto leader Thaksin Shinawatra has promised to issue credit cards to taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers if the opposition party wins the next general election.

Thaksin said taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers could use the cards for revolving funds to pay for petrol and expenses.

However, he did not want to go into details over concerns the Democrat-led government would copy the policies.

The ousted former prime minister was speaking during a phone address to over 1,000 taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers from across Bangkok at a forum held by Pheu Thai to outline the party’s campaign policies. Speakers included Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Vichaidit, deputy leader Khanawat Vasinsangvorn, head of the Bangkok election team Wicharn Minchaiyanant and party MP for Bangkok Anudit Nakorntap.

Taxi driver representatives raised their concerns about high vehicle rental fees of between 550-700 baht a day.

They also highlighted difficulties in finding guarantors for car purchases.

In response, Thaksin outlined a Pheu Thai policy to introduce tax deductions for those buying their first car.

If the policy was implemented, car prices would be reduced to 600,000 baht from 900,000 baht, he said.

A motorcycle taxi driver representative said he wanted the next government to get rid of mafia figures and corrupt government officials extorting money from hard working people.

Thaksin urged people to exercise their rights in the election and vote the party back into power.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit urged all parties to jointly declare they would allow the party which wins the most seats in the election to form the next government.

Gen Prayuth: There will be an election

Posted by arnon_k On April - 4 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

There will certainly be a general election soon and the military will not interfere in the formation of the new government after that, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday.

Gen Prayuth was replying to reporters’ questions.

He said soldiers will not obstruct the polls, and in fact will make sure that a general election is held.

Asked if the military would again facilitate the formation of the next government into the military camp, Gen Prayuth firmly said: “No.”

“There will not be such a thing, nothing like that. We will stick to our duty and support democratic rule,” he said.

The army chief warned people against committing lese majeste, saying that those who do so would face tough legal action.

“Please don’t ask again what soldiers will do from now. We soldiers will perform our duty, help people in trouble and help the country overcome obstacles in a democratic administration under His Majesty the King,” he said.

PM firm on House dissolution, election

Posted by arnon_k On March - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reaffirmed on Thursday there will certainly be a House dissolution and a general election despite the ongoing rallies of various political groups.

He said this in replying to a fresh query raised in the House of Representatives.

“I am still firm to my stand that there will be a House dissolution depite the ongoing rallies, as long as they continue to stay at the present level,” the prime minister said.

Mr Abhisit said there had been attempts by the protesters to arouse anti-government sentiment but the government did not want to use force to disperse them and create new problems.

Instead, security agencies had been assigned to maintain law and order. “Our main objective is to bring the country back to normal,” he said.

He believed the release of red-shirts on bail would help reduce conflict in the country, adding that the Justice Ministry and the Truth for Reconciliation Commission chaired by Kanit Na Nakorn would continue to extend help so that other United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship members and supporters could be freed on bail.

Concerning Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkwamkid and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who are imprisoned in Cambodia, Mr Abhisit said the government had not abandoned its intention to help them.

However, the timing must be right. Morever, the two yellow-shirt activists should also be allowed to make their own decisions. The government had never forced them to do as it wanted, Mr Abhisit said.

The prime minister said there had been a conflict between two teams of lawyers of the Thai Patriots Network over whether Mr Veera and Ms Ratree should appeal the court verdict or to seek a royal pardon.

The government’s stand is to do all it can to facilitate any effort to bring them home, he added.

Puea Pandin stands aside for Pheu Thai in byelections

Posted by arnon_k On November - 13 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Puea Pandin will not be fielding any candidates in Nakhon Ratchasima and Surin byelections because it wants to pave the way for Pheu Thai Party, a source said yesterday.
Key leaders of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party had spoken to Puea Pandin’s key leader Pairote Suwanchawee about the matter, the source said.

“Pairote thinks it is not worth [fielding candidates] because the government’s term will end soon. We would have to spend about Bt30 million to Bt40 million per constituency,” the source quoted Pairote as saying.

If Puea Pandin does not run in the byelections, it is likely that their supporters will vote for Pheu Thai instead. This means that the two byelections will be a contest between Pheu Thai and Newin Chidchob’s Bhum Jai Thai.

“We will join hands to beat Bhum Jai Thai in the two constituencies,” the source said.

The byelections are being held because Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat from Bhum Jai Thai and Deputy Transport Minister Kuakul Danchaiwijit from Chart Thai Pattana along with four other MPs were disqualified as MPs for holding shares in firms with state concessions.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party’s secretarygeneral Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday met Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silpaarcha, who is also Chart Thai Pattana Party’s leader, and Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, who is Bhum Jai Thai’s leader, to talk them into getting Boonjong and Kuakul to resign as ministers before running in the byelections.

“They complained about [Prime Minister] Abhisit [Vejjajiva] interfering in their internal affairs. He should respect our parties,” a source quoted both Chaovarat and Chumpol as saying.

From Suthep’s point of view, both Bhum Jai Thai and Chart Thai Pattana leaders stood firm that their ministers would not resign, the source said.

“When we [the coalition partners] agreed to form the government, we were not told that we would have to do the same as the ruling Democrat Party. We have our own way,” the source quoted the two party leaders as saying. Suthep has been told to wait for their parties to meet next Monday.

Meanwhile, Suthep reported that Abhisit is insisting that Boonjong and Kuakul quit as ministers if they want to run in the byelections.

“If both Chart Thai Pattana and Bhum Jai Thai still stand firm, I, as a government manager, will have to keep applying mild pressure on them to meet the premier’s goal. I am frustrated because this is one of the most difficult jobs I have ever done,” the source quoted Suthep as saying.