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Constitutional court to rule Thai Raksa Chart’s fate next week

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Constitutional court to rule Thai Raksa Chart’s fate next week | The Thaiger
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by Kas Chanwanpen

Thai Raksa Chart Party will know its fate next week after the Constitutional Court yesterday scheduled March 7 to read its verdict on whether the party should be dissolved following a petition from the Election Commission (EC).

The final judgement next week will be made based on the evidence submitted to the court earlier and there will be no further hearings, according to a statement issued by the court yesterday.

Thai Raksa Chart has been accused of undermining the constitutional monarchy system by nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime minister candidate. The EC petitioned the court to dissolve the party and the executives face a ban from politics for life.

The party’s PM nomination has already been nullified by the EC following a Royal Command issued by the King. Thai Raksa Chart subsequently found itself in trouble for trying to involve the monarchy in politics.

By law, the party can submit additional documents until three days before the day of judgement, the lawyer said, but Thai Raksa Chart will not take the opportunity.

“We believe no further documents or witnesses are needed to make any change to the outcome,” Surachai said.

“The ruling will either be dismissal of the case or dissolution of the party. And that’s final. No appeals or complaints against the verdict is allowed by law. So, we respect the court no matter the outcome.”

The lawyer said the party had made the case that it had no intention to go against the tradition of constitutional monarchy and that the EC had unlawfully approached the court without conducting a proper investigation.

“Now it was up to the court to make the decision and the party would respect that.”

Thai Raksa Chart leaders such as Mitti Tiyapiratch, Nattawut Saikua and Wim Rungwatanachinda were at the party office yesterday to follow the developments closely. Its de jure leader Preechaphol Pongpanit and senior figure Chaturon Chaisang, however, were nowhere to be seen.

With its status as Pheu Thai Party’s major ally designed to win party-list seats in the House of Representatives under the new election system, dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart could deal a massive blow to the Shinawatra camp.

Political scientist Stithorn Thananithichot, however, saw a silver lining in the whole development, saying that at least the ruling will be issued 17 days before the election. That would give the party’s supporters adequate time to decide which party they should cast their votes for as an alternative to Thai Raksa Chart, he said.

If the votes were strategically aimed at opposing the coup-backed regime, voters could still cast their ballots in favour of other pro-democracy parties, Stithorn said.

The expert added that though it was believed the lawsuit was politically motivated to favour pro-junta parties, they were unlikely to benefit from the dissolution as the court verdict would come well before the election.

If Thai Raksa Chart was dissolved after the election, the votes would have been wasted with voters unable to shift their loyalties to other parties, he explained.

Constitutional court to rule Thai Raksa Chart's fate next week | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Politics

Thanathorn disqualified as Member of Parliament – Thai Constitutional Court

The Thaiger

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Thanathorn disqualified as Member of Parliament – Thai Constitutional Court | The Thaiger

Leader of the Future Forward Party, 41 year old Thanathorn Jungroongruangkit, has been disqualified as a Member of Parliament following the handing down of a guilty verdict by the Thai Constitutional Court today.

The Court’s findings say Thanathorn was still holding shares in a media company when he registered to run in the March 24 national election. Thanathorn presented evidence during hearings into case declaring that he’d divested himself of any company shares before the calling of the election.

Constitutional pundits say the ruling now paves the way for Thanathorn to be charged under Article 151 of the Elections Act which specifies a jail term of up to 10 years and a political ban for 20 years for anyone found guilty of registering to run in MP elections while knowing that he or she is not qualified.

Thanathorn was originally accused by the Election Commission of still holding 675,000 shares in his family-owned V Luck Media Company when he registered to run in the general election in March this year.

During his defence Thanathorn insisted that the company was not a mass media entity in the general sense as it published only an in-flight magazine and a glossy franchised lifestyle magazine. He also presented evidence that he had transferred all the shares in question to his mother prior to registering to run in the election.

Article 98 of the Constitution prohibits proprietors or share-holders of media companies to run in elections out of fear they would have undue political influence, according to Thai PBS World.

The court dismissed Thanathorn’s defence on both points and revoked his status as an elected MP effective as of May 23 when he was suspended from active duty as MP after the Election Commission made the charges.

Hundreds of supporters of Future Forward Party showed disappointment as they listened to the verdict broadcast on close-circuit TV in the lobby of the Constitutional Court under tight security. Representatives from the US Embassy and EU in Bangkok were also seen attending the session as observers.

Despite his absence from the Parliamentary chamber, and his suspension as an MP at the time, Thanathorn narrowly missed being elected as the Thai PM in the first sitting of the new Parliament.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

Thanathorn disqualified as Member of Parliament - Thai Constitutional Court | News by The Thaiger

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News

School funding challenge for bilingual curriculum

May Taylor

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School funding challenge for bilingual curriculum | The Thaiger

The secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Amnat Wichayanuwat, says plans to introduce a bilingual school curriculum at all grade levels have thrown up an obstacle for meeting funding requirements.

The bilingual curriculum plans were announced by the Education Minister last week in an effort to improve English proficiency among the Thai population. It’s hoped to have the curriculum in place from kindergarten level at more than 2,000 district schools from the beginning of the 2020 academic year.

However, the OBEC secretary-general says one of the conditions under which schools can qualify for Mini English Programme (MEP) funding, is by showing that Ordinary National Educational Test (O-NET) scores have consistently improved for at least three years.

Amnat says it’s simply not possible for schools to meet this requirement.

“This is impossible because these schools haven’t even started with the new lessons. To launch the MEP classrooms efficiently, we will therefore adjust the qualification and submit it to the Provincial Schools Admission Committee for consideration.”

Amnat says OBEC will reinstate provincial English Resource and Instruction Centres to help determine the curriculum. He draws attention to the need to examine English language proficiency in both teachers and students and work on areas that need improvement.

“And there will be an English proficiency assessment using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages standard. This will expand the opportunities for education and create equality among educational institutes.”

Thailand was recently ranked 74 out of 100 on the English language proficiency index, with its ranking continuing to drop for three years in a row.

See earlier story HERE.

SOURCE:nationthailand.com

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Hot News

Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises

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Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises | The Thaiger

Amidst rumours circulating that the Palang Pracharat Party may renege on some of the promises it made to secure MP votes from the Democrats and Bhumjaithai, the Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanavisit says he believes the Palang Pracharat party will keep its promises.

Thepthai Senpong MP, a key Democrat party member, is warning that the coalition government will be in big trouble if the promise is broken. He says the coalition government would “function with great difficulty” if the Palang Pracharat party does not stick to the promises it made to the Democrats, according to Thai PBS.

Meanwhile, Somsak Thepsutin, one of the Sam Mitr faction within Palang Pracharat, says that if one of their group isn’t offered the agriculture minister’s post (reportedly offered to the Democrats as part of the ‘deal’), the promises they made with Thai voters during the election campaign could be affected.

Somsak has already spoken of his aspirations to become the next agriculture minister, despite the portfolio being used as a political football during negotiations with the Democrats.

But the new leader of the Democrats, Jurin Laksanavisit insists that the issue of the quota of ministries for his MPs has already been settled. He re-iterated yesterday that Palang Pracharat would not go back on its promises to the Democrats. He added that he had not been informed of any changes to their arrangements despite being aware of the media reports about the prevarication.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Nation

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