Connect with us

Election

Can the Princess be PM?

The Thaiger

Published

on

Can the Princess be PM? | The Thaiger

Analysis

The Princess was nominated. Her brother, HM Thai King, objected. Thai Raksa Chart postponed their campaign launch on Saturday morning. The PM and Election Commission have stayed silent.

With the weekend allowing cooler heads to sift through yesterday’s events, next week it is hoped some clarity will emerge about the Princess’ nomination as a prime ministerial candidate that threw the election campaign a curved ball yesterday morning.

Princess Ubolratana’s position within the Thai Royal Family doesn’t preclude her from running for a political position, although to defy The King’s wishes, after his strongly worded statement on Friday night, would place the country in an unprecedented constitutional conundrum.

That she was nominated by a political party with strong ties to the former disgraced and fugitive PM, Thaksin Shinawatra, also places an additionally complex spin on the Princess’ decision to accept the nomination.

For her to run as a candidate for the role of PM would put all other candidates in a very difficult position, including the current PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also was nominated as a PM candidate yesterday.

With her clear connections to the royal family it would make questioning her, or even running against her, untenable or even impossible within the dynamic of Thai society. Would any candidate dare to run against the King’s sister?

The Election Commission, by law, has the final say on the acceptance of candidates. But, to be sure, the batteries on the smartphones of politicians and palace officials will be running low this weekend.

At this stage, the man who has the most to lose, the current PM, has made no comment about the nomination.

Can the Princess be PM? | News by The Thaiger

Princess Ubolratana is the eldest child of Rama 9, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October 2016, and Queen Sirikit. According to some analysts, royal family members of her ‘rank’ are not barred from politics but have opted to stay neutral in the past, a long-standing protocol in most modern constitutional monarchies.

Ubolratana was close to her father – the two won a gold medal in sailing at the 1967 Southeast Asian Games. She relinquished her royal title when she married her American husband Peter Ladd Jensen in 1972 and settled in the US, where she studied biochemistry.

The couple had three children but their second, Khun Bhumi Jensen – known as Khun Poom – died in the 2004 tsunami that ravaged southern Thailand.

Following her divorce in 1998, she returned to Thailand permanently in 2001 and became active in royal life. She has been working as a representative for the Thai tourism authority for more than 10 years. He also set up several charities, including the Khun Poom Foundation, named after her son, that assists children with autism and other learning disabilities, and headed a campaign that helps young people stay off drugs.

She is regularly featured in the daily TV coverage of the royal family going about their duties in the Kingdom and is generally treated with the same respect as the other leading members of the family.

She is also well known and loved in Thailand as a keen singer and actor, appearing in several films, and is active on social media, where posts of her singing and dancing have gone viral on her Instagram page.

On March 24, Thais will vote for the 500 seat lower house of parliament. The 250 member upper house, the National Legislative Council, will be chosen entirely by the military.

Can the Princess be PM? | News by The Thaiger



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Election

Army Chief spits the dummy and orders the playing of military song

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Army Chief spits the dummy and orders the playing of military song | The Thaiger

Contributors Jitraporn Sennawong and Kas Chanwanpen – The Nation

If you’re the Thai Army Chief, and a bit miffed that some political parties are including scaling back military spending in their election policies, what do you do?

Why of course you order Army radio stations in the Kingdom to play a jingoistic, and offensive to many, military-themed song, “Nak Phaendin”.

Angry with politicians proposing a cut in the defence budget, the Thai Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong ordered the ultra-rightist song to be aired every day on 160 Army radio stations across the country.

He later withdrew the order.

The song, also played within military camps and the Army headquarters, was to air twice every day before Apirat had a change of mind. The Army chief reasoned earlier that the anthem broadcast was aimed at encouraging everyone to be “aware of their duties and responsibilities towards the country”.

“All this time, some people have been critical and distorting the truth to create misunderstanding about the work of the government and the Army. So, all units should clarify it using the media in its hands.”

The order was issued yesterday almost immediately after Army top brass told politicians, including Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan from Pheu Thai Party, who are proposing a reduction in the defence budget as one of their policy planks, to “listen to the song”.

The song, titled “Nak Phaendin”, is recorded with a military band and a mocking voice. The title means “burden to the country” and says one who is “worthless” or an “enemy of the nation” should be eliminated.

The song was composed in 1975 by an Army officer and was part of the propaganda used against the communist movement in Thailand. An anthem for a time, place and purpose. Not 2019.

“They criticised the military out of their idiocy. They fell for lies and slander. Let me ask you: Are soldiers hurting or killing or bullying us nowadays? No,” user Sita Piro wrote in a news thread by Nation Weekend.

“The real Scum of the Earth are these soldiers who exploit their uniforms to seek power,” user Pitak Chairungreang wrote in the same thread.

The song features lyrics that condemn any act of treason, including ungratefulness to the monarchy, instigating conflict among Thais and treachery.

In the notorious student massacre on October 6, 1976 at Thammasat University, “Nak Phaendin” was frequently played to justify the crackdown as well as to boost the courage of right-wingers who had engaged in elimination of the alleged threat. Top Army members and leaders of the ruling junta yesterday also appeared protective of the Army’s interests in opposing the policy proposal to reduce the defence budget.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday openly warned politicians to be mindful of their language during the electoral campaign. If they did not consider reality and the national interest, they would have to take responsibility for their actions one day.

General Prayut is now a ‘politician’ running for electoral office as the prime ministerial candidate for the Palang Pracharat party on March 24. He has refused to stand aside as the country’s PM during the campaign.

Army Chief spits the dummy and orders the playing of military song | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Election

2,810 MP candidates line up for March 24 election

The Thaiger

Published

on

2,810 MP candidates line up for March 24 election | The Thaiger

107 candidates, for positions as Members of Parliament, and two prime ministerial candidates have been disqualified from running in the March Thai general election.

Of the 2,917 party-list registered candidates, from 77 political parties, 2,810 candidates and 68 prime ministerial candidates from 44 parties have qualified after being checked by the Election Commission.

While the EC didn’t disclose the names of the disqualified candidates, one of them is serving a term in jail and another didn’t complete university-level education as legally required.

The EC didn’t publish a list of the MP or prime ministerial candidates but says that parties or individual candidates can check for themselves by using the ‘Smart Vote’ application.

Disqualified candidates will be able to lodge complaints or appeals with the Supreme Court within seven days.

Eligible voters and candidates are entitled to challenge the EC’s decisions by means of a petition submitted to the EC within seven days.

2,810 MP candidates line up for March 24 election | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Thai PBS

Continue Reading

Election

Voters like Prayut as PM but prefer Pheu Thai as the party they will vote for

The Thaiger

Published

on

Voters like Prayut as PM but prefer Pheu Thai as the party they will vote for | The Thaiger

With the election campaign now digging into its first week on the hustings, the polls are starting to indicate where the early poll sentiments are leaning.

Thai PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is the favourite for the prime minster’s position following the election, but Pheu Thai is the party people want to see lead the formation of the new government, according to an opinion survey. Pheu Thai has won the majority of votes in every election contested since 2001. Their stronghold is in the country’s population-rich north-easter and northern regions.

Yesterday’s Nida Poll was conducted between February 5-7 and interviewed 2,091 people nationwide.

PM Gen Prayut, who is now the prime ministerial candidate for the Palang Pracharath Party, received 26% of the poll support to be the next PM. He was followed closely by Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan of the Pheu Thai Party at 24%.

12% y they’re uncertain while the Democrat Party’s Abhisit Vejjajiva received 11.4% support. 6.3% say they will not vote for anyone.

6% want to see the newcomer Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit of the Future Forward Party as PM.

Choosing a party to win the majority of votes in the March 24 poll, 36.5% chose Pheu Thai, followed by 22.6% for Palang Pracharath, Democrat – 15.2%, Future Forward – 8.2% and Seri Ruam Thai – 5%.

The main priorities voters wanted the new government to address included ‘the economy’ – 54.8%, farm price slumps – 27.9%, free education up to a bachelor’s degree – 4.3% and fighting corruption.

98% say they will vote on March 24. 1% said they won’t and the other 1% said they weren’t sure.

The election has the highest number of MPs running for office of any election in the past.

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required

Trending