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Election

Army chief’s intervention in election campaign backfires

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Army chief’s intervention in election campaign backfires | The Thaiger

by Jitraporn Sennawong and Nattaphat Phromkaew

The Thai Army chief’s attempt to scare politicians from discussing the Army’s budget and reform by indirectly calling them “enemies of the state” has backfired.

Many Thais have emerged with additional proposals for reforms of the military, and others are protesting the chief’s invocation of the jingoistic military anthem.

Political critics and social media yesterday largely voiced the opinion that the Army, which often intervenes in politics, deserves a budget reduction and reform.

Social activist Veera Somkwamkid wrote on his Facebook page that he agreed with the policy proposal to cut the defence budget.

“It is a source from which high-ranked officers could unlawfully seek benefits.”

“The cut should not affect ordinary military officers because we’re not cutting their salary,” Veera said, adding that the surplus from the cut could be allocated to other areas such as public health and education.

Junta critic and leader of Seree Ruam Thai party Sereepisuth Temeeyaves yesterday said his party also proposed to reduce the size of the Army and would reallocate the funds to improve the quality of people’s life.

“The Army is part of the problem facing the country, especially in the past five years since the coup. If I get a chance to run the country, I will abolish conscription and disband the unnecessary units including their headquarters and the court.”

“We’re not at war. These are not necessary,” he told an election rally in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Army chief’s intervention in election campaign backfires | News by The Thaiger

The criticism follows the Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong instructing politicians to listen to the anthem “Nak Paendin” (“worthless”) if they were planning to reduce the defence budget or nullify conscription.

“Nak Paendin” was part of right-wing Thai propaganda in 1970s aimed at the communist movement in the country.

The lyrics labels leftists as enemies of the state that needed to be eliminated. A favourite of ultra-nationalists, it is viewed by many others as hate-filled and divisive.

Following heavy public criticism concerning both the need for Army reform and the Army’s chief’s aggressive reaction, a military spokesman yesterday came out to defend its controversial budget.

While the public appears sceptical of the relations between the military backed government and the rising defence budget, the spokesman Lt General Kongcheep Tantravanich said the allocation was proportionate.

The budget rise (from 183 billion before the 2014 coup to 227 billion baht this year) was also proportionate to the national budget’s overall increase, he said. In fact, he insisted, it had been reduced by some 5 per cent in relative terms. A budget cut would affect numerous security units and their work, including disaster relief units, he said.

Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong has not responded to the criticism or commented about the reaction to his comments on Monday.

Army chief’s intervention in election campaign backfires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation



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Election

Some election results out by 8pm Sunday night

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Some election results out by 8pm Sunday night | The Thaiger

More than 92,000 polling stations will be operating this Sunday for the national poll to elect a new Government. Seven million new voters, eligible since the last poll in 2011, will make a new impact on the election results making predictions more complex than in the past.

Election results will start dribbling out of smaller polling booths just an hour after voting in this Sunday’s national election.

Voting will close at 5pm on Sunday, according to the Election Commission.

The EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma says results can be expected in less than an hour from smaller polling stations, adding that unofficial results from at least 95 per cent of the polling stations should be ready by 8pm on Sunday.

These results will reveal the number of constituency seats won by each party, but figures on party-list seats will not be released until after the EC has officially endorsed the election results, Jarungvith added.

“The agency will not do the calculations to find out the number of party-list MPs on Sunday. Also, numbers may change, especially if by-elections are required or if ballots need to be recounted in some areas. We can only reveal the results once we have endorsed the votes,” he said.

A private group led by rights watchdog iLaw have launched the vote62.com website to serve as a platform for updates on election results and as a means to prevent fraud during the counting of ballots.

Those participating in ballot counting can take photographs of the counting board and post the pictures on the website, while those keeping track of the vote-count on TV or online platforms can enter tallies or upload photos on the website.

The group said the results displayed on the website will later be compared by the official results released by the EC to ensure transparency.

Meanwhile the Health Department is issuing tips advising voters to get at least six hours sleep before casting their vote.

Voters are being urged to wear light clothes because the temperature on Sunday is expected to rise up to 40C in central and northern parts of the country and up to 35 or 36 in southern areas.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Election

Foreign Affairs denies attempts to extradite Thaksin from Hong Kong

The Thaiger

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Foreign Affairs denies attempts to extradite Thaksin from Hong Kong | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The happy couple and ‘dad’, in HK for tomorrow’s wedding

The director of the foreign affairs department of the public prosecutor’s office in Thailand says media reports that the Thai officials are trying to extradite former PM and fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong, are wrong.

Daily News reports that Chatchachom Akkhapin says there was no truth in stories of efforts to extradite Thaksin from Hong Kong.

Thaksin is in Hong Kong from tomorrow (Friday) to attend the wedding of his youngest daughter Paetongtarn “Ing” Shinawatra to a commercial pilot.

Chatchachom says no contact had been made with Hong Kong authorities but he concedes that, even  though Thailand and Hong Kong have no formal extradition treaty, it would still be possible to request the return of a wanted fugitive if the evidence presented was sufficient.

In the first instance he says they would need to ascertain the address of Thaksin in Hong Kong and the public prosecutor’s office don’t know where Thaksin is staying.

The denial follows a post on “Thaksinlive” on Instagram earlier this week that indicated Thaksin would be in Hong Kong for “Ing’s” wedding on March 22.

Read The Thaiger’s report, that the Department has now denied, HERE.

SOURCE: Daily News

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Chiang Mai

Man caught masturbating in front of election banner in Lampang

The Thaiger

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Man caught masturbating in front of election banner in Lampang | The Thaiger

Locals in Lampang in Thailand’s north have complained to the media that an older man had been caught on dash cam masturbating in front of an election banner for a female candidate for this Sunday’s election.

Sanook reports that the woman in the poster was ‘attractive’.

The man, estimated to be between 60 – 70 years old, was shown in Thung Fai sub-district repeatedly rubbing the poster of the female candidate with his left hand before using the same hand to masturbate.

When he realised he was being filmed he abruptly stopped. Locals told Sanook that they caught the man behaving like this before, although The Thaiger notes the last election was back in 2011.

SOURCE: Sanook

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