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Yingluck to take back seat in Pheu Thai poll campaign

Posted by Nuttapon_S On January - 5 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra remained at her residence yesterday as the Pheu Thai Party began its election campaign, which included a major rally at Muang Thong Thani, just north of Bangkok.

Sources at the ruling Pheu Thai Party’s headquarters said Yingluck would only join future campaigns if they were key events, or took place out of office hours, saying she now wanted to dedicate her time to serving as the caretaker premier and defence minister.

The Pheu Thai Party has so far launched its campaign in five provinces, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Khaen, and Nakhon Sawan.

According to the source, the theme for the first stage of its campaign would focus on respecting the will of the voter in order to protect democracy. This would be followed by a theme which targets national reform and corruption eradication, while the last phase of campaign would ask voters to allow the party to implement its on-going policies and projects.

In other political developments, the Krabi provincial branch of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PRDC), which has vowed to participate in the shutdown of Bangkok on January 13, said it would not rule out a possible blockade of roads leading to airports. However, its leader, Detchart Damdee, said the matter would not be decided until the issue had been discussed.

Meanwhile, in Nakhon Si Thammarat PDRC provincial leaders demanded that Virat Nimvichit, provincial director of state-controlled Channel 11 TV, resign immediately -accusing him of siding with Pheu Thai MP candidates.

The Election Commission said yesterday that 1,261 district candidates had registered, while in 28 districts in eight southern provinces there had been no candidate registration. The provinces included Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Trang, Chumphon, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Surat Thani and Phuket.

In a related development, chief adviser to Chart Pattana Party Suwat Liptapanlop told party candidates to move towards political reconciliation and to avoid any conflict with other parties. He said although the party expected to win between 10 to 30 seats, it wanted to see an improvement in the “quality” of the House of Representatives. Suwat told candidates not to make enemies of fellow candidates from other parties. He also called on all parties to start afresh after the election.

Suwat said he also lamented the lack of senior political figures who could help mend the current political rift – such as the late General Chatichai Choonhavan – a former premier and leader of the party. Things could have been resolved with such a figure inviting conflicting parties “to a meal where they could sip wine”, he said.

Bid to get around blockades in South

Posted by Nuttapon_S On January - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Ruling party, others register at border police base at 3am but legal doubt over move

Candidates in the South were once again stopped from registering for the February 2 election yesterday by members of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) even though election officials agreed to host the registration at a police-run facility in one province.

Election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said a decision to change venues had been made solely by officials at the constituency level and the central Election Commission had nothing to do with it.

Police and constituency poll officials reportedly coordinated the move, which saw the ruling party and others register at a border police camp in Nakhon Si Thammarat at 3am.

“The decision to move venues was not unanimous. Some candidates registered at the 42nd Border Patrol Police Camp in Thung Song district at night, which is not fair for other candidates and might lead to legal problems later. So the provincial and constituency election commissions should report to the EC about this,” he said.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat 15 candidates from Pheu Thai, Chart Thai Pattana, Palang Sahakorn and Bhum Jai Thai parties allegedly registered for seven of the nine constituencies at 3am yesterday.

The Pheu Thai candidates were then escorted to the Fourth Army Region Airport by the border patrol police, who also flew Chart Thai Pattana candidates into the registration venue in a helicopter.

With at least two parties registering, the candidates will no longer have to comply with the election regulation that requires them to win at least 20 per cent of eligible votes – otherwise they may have to undergo several elections until the meet the minimum votes required.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said he and representatives of other parties will meet with the EC today to ask that the deadline for registration of candidates in the South – due to end today – be extended due to the disruptions.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut warned that the move to register candidates in different venues in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Thung Song district might result in the election being declared invalid.

He said following incorrect procedures may result in the election being cancelled like what happened in 2006.

The EC and members of the Democrat Party met yesterday to try and resolve the problem of failed candidacy registration in provinces in the South. The outcome was not available as of press time last night.

Chavanond also said Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will give a speech at 8am today via the Blue Sky TV channel on a seven-point reform blueprint.

He said feedback to the blueprint would be sought from chambers of commerce and anti-corruption agencies tomorrow and on Friday before the reform plan is finalised.

Somchai said EC representatives would also explain to Democrat leaders today why the election must be held. They had wanted to explain this to the PDRC, he said, but an invitation for talks had yet to be accepted.

He said registration of candidates in Songkhla and Phuket has been cancelled.

Separately, an unknown gunman sprayed the house of Thanapol Sukpan – legal adviser to Pheu Thai candidate for Chumphon, Rujinart Srisuwan – with M16 bullets on Monday night. Thanapol believes this attack may be politically motivated.

In another report, the spokesman for the anti-government Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform has been released on bail, on condition that he not instigate any unrest or disorder.

Phichit Chaimongkhol, who was arrested at a shopping mall on Sunday, was granted release yesterday on a Bt100,000 bail guarantee. He faces trespassing charges after he led a group of protesters into the Foreign Ministry compound in November. Criminal Court judges cited light penalties and his tendency not to flee as reasons for granting bail.

A preliminary hearing has been set for 9am on February 24.

Meanwhile, a taxi driver was shot and wounded by gunmen at the Misakawan intersection on Monday, just before midnight.

Pokket Boonyok, 43, was hit by two gunshots in his right torso but is now safe after hospital treatment. Witnesses said the gunmen approached in a silver pickup before opening fire and fleeing.

New Year celebrations were held at the main anti-government rally site near Democracy Monument, with a Ferris wheel erected in the middle of Rajdamnoen Avenue and protesters taking part in large numbers. All traffic was blocked.

The events, hosted by the PDRC and titled the “Great People’s New Year, Hope and Life Force”, featured live music by various bands and artists. A Buddhist countdown prayer ceremony was also being considered as of press time.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan asked Bangkok governor and Democrat deputy leader Sukhumbhand Paribatra to offer measures to deal with the PDRC plan to shut down Bangkok after the New Year break. Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt also slammed the plan, saying its much-heralded reform plan would become unpopular if it started violating other people’s constitutional right to travel.

The five Election Commission members Thursday issued a statement urging the caretaker government and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee to hold talks on the election date.

The statement was read by Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, the EC commissioner in charge of organising elections.

The EC statement said it would be difficult to hold the election on February 2 because the situation was not normal and could turn volatile.

“Turmoil is likely to a certain extent,” the statement said. The statement urged the government and the PDRC to talk and come up with a solution that would allow the election to be held in an orderly atmosphere.

The statement said the government should not insist on the current election date of February 2. “The two sides may talk and decide whether the election should be held on that date or when it should be held.

“If the two sides agree that the election does not have to be held on February 2, the legal officials of the government must find a solution to postpone it and the EC will be ready to organise it accordingly,” Somchai said,

Democrat leader predicts rocky election on Feb 2

Posted by Nuttapon_S On December - 18 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

BANGKOK, Dec 18 – Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva warned today that an insistence for a general election on February 2 may lead to violence and that the government should resign before it is too late.

Expressing pessimism against the snap poll, he predicted that the election will neither be smooth nor contribute to political reform, indicating that the election will instead trigger problems.

“The point is not whether political parties boycott the election or not. The concern now is people will refuse to go to the poll,” he said.

He said Thailand’s political disputes will never be solved as long as ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra refuses to abide by the Thai laws.

“People do not believe the election will be held fairly. Why does Thai society debate on whether the election should be held before or after national reform? The February 2 election will not be smooth,” he said.

He said the Democrat Party and the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) do not object to an election and the government agrees with reform but “it is the government which started the entire entanglement.”

Mr Abhisit said the caretaker government and the Election Commission will have to jointly solve the crisis and earn the people’s trust for a fair election, otherwise people will walk away from the Constitution.

The easiest way is the government relinquishes the caretaker role before it is too late, he warned, adding that the government must clearly explain on what it will do if it is really keen on national reform.

Vichai Assarasakorn, vice president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said this is the first time (in Thai history) that the private sector plays a role in helping solve political conflicts.

Describing the present political situation as volatile, he said he does not object to an election but he does not have faith in the agreement (for a reform after the election).

“There are many reasons that cast doubts. It’s necessary to create confidence among the people,” he said.(MCOT online news)

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