Saturday, November 25, 2017
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Laws concerning the qualification of candidates contesting local elections must be amended before the general election can be held, chief charter drafter Meechai Ruchupan has said.

The government is discussing whether local elections will be held ahead of the national election and legal amendments have been raised.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said he would discuss the matter with concerned parties, including the Constitution Drafting Commission, which is drafting the organic laws.

Meechai said the election cannot take place within one or two months as the related laws need to be amended first.

He said the Election Commission can still go ahead with its work in organising the elections in local areas.

Local elections are normally supervised by the EC, although under the new law there will no longer be provincial ECs.

Political parties, he said, could support their candidates, but it is up to the National Council for Peace and Order to decide when to lift the ban on political gatherings.

 

PM slammed for six questions

Posted by pakin On November - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

POLITICIANS AND ACADEMICS SAY ‘DANGEROUS’ MOVE INDICATES NCPO’S INTENTION TO CLING TO POWER AND LEGITIMISE UNDEMOCRATIC RULE

PRIME MINISTER GENERAL Prayut Chan-o-cha’s latest efforts to survey people’s thoughts on politics with six controversial questions appeared to be an attempt not only to set a political agenda but also to legitimise the junta’s rule despite it being undemocratic, politicians and academics have concluded.

The comments came one day after the prime minister refused to rule out the possibility of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) setting up a military-backed party to contest the next elections.

Prayut abruptly came up with the six questions himself when he was attending a meeting yesterday morning at Government House and then made additional comments on the release of the questions a few hours later.

The new tack came shortly after the NCPO was criticised for maintaining the political ban although the political party bill has been implemented and the mourning period for the late King Rama IX has ended.

The questions are Prayut’s second “survey” after the first earlier this year. The previous questions, which required respondents to answer in person at Damrongdhamma centres, elicited about 1 million responses.

However, the government has not released a report on the outcome of the survey.

The earlier four questions were viewed as leading respondents to disapprove of politicians and cast doubt on Thailand’s democratic system. The six new questions follow a similar pattern – but with a stronger tone.

Key Pheu Thai Party figure Watana Muangsook said he believed that Prayut, who seized power in the 2014 coup, had no right to ask such questions to the public at all.

“He still casts doubts on politicians, although political mechanisms should have been ready by now,” Watana said. “We would like to move to be prepare for the election, not clash with anyone. How could we create any insecurity as claimed by Prayut?”

Independent political academic Trakoon Meechai said he believed the questions were asked based on an underestimation of the potential public backlash, particularly given speculation that the junta wanted to cling to power after the election.

The questions were leading, seeking answers legitimising the junta and discrediting politicians, Trakoon said. Ultimately, the questions were asking if it is okay for the junta to maintain a lingering political influence by backing a political party.

“This method of ensuring one’s own legitimacy may differentiate any emerging party submitted by the NCPO from those parties backed by the military in the past,” Trakoon said. “But it will be very dangerous for the junta itself to publicly show this kind of intention.”

 

A meeting of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Tuesday approved the invocation of special power under Article 44 of the interim charter to accelerate the development of projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Invocation of this special power is expected to take place in the next few days, covering three areas, said Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

First, it will be executed to speed up the conduct of environment impact assessment (EIA) of each of the planned key projects in the EEC, with the national environment committee being able to appoint a panel of experts to dedicatedly study the environment impact of specific projects.

Foreign experts will also be allowed to sit on this committee, which will have to finish the EIA study of each project within a year of receiving the preliminary EIA report on the project, he said.

Second, the special power provided for under Article 44 will empower the board steering EEC development policy to approve the various public-private partnership (PPP) projects that will be set up in the corridor, without the need to seek consideration of the PPP committee, the spokesman said.

However, approvals of these PPP projects will have to involve consultation with the Finance Ministry and related state agencies in order to ensure transparency.

Third, Article 44 invocation will permit foreign private-aviation firms to hold a share of more than 50 per cent in aviation-related businesses they plan to invest in the EEC’s aviation industry zone, Sansern said.

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said the board steering EEC development policy, which is chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, would have direct authority to consider on a case-by-case basis which foreign companies should be allowed to over 50 per cent in aviation businesses within the zone, as the privilege would not be on offer to all foreign entities.

Foreign firms eligible to enjoy the privilege must submit proposals that cover investment, technology transfer, local employment, and a plan to support related businesses in Thailand, the minister explained.

The EEC – taking in the provinces of Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Rayong – is targeted for massive infrastructure spending to support technologically advanced industries.

 

PHEU THAI Party politician Watana Muangsook yesterday was released on bail of Bt80,000 by the military court on condition that he does not get involved in political provocations and cannot leave the country without court permission.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday had sought the military court’s permission to extend Watana’s detention for his alleged violation of an NCPO order.

The politician denied the allegation, saying he had just expressed his opinion on a social network and had not violated any agreement with the NCPO, according to his lawyer Narinpong Jinapak.

Watana is accused of breaking an agreement with the NCPO that he would not carry out political activities, which he had signed for his previous release from detention.

The politician has been detained four times, including the most recent detention, which was justified because he had violated the NCPO Announcement Number 39/2557, according to an NCPO source.

The politician has been on a partial hunger strike since being detained on Monday, consuming only coconuts and juice.

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