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EC meets tomorrow to discuss Thai Raksa Chart’s controversial PM nomination

The Thaiger



EC meets tomorrow to discuss Thai Raksa Chart’s controversial PM nomination | The Thaiger

The Election Commission is expected to meet tomorrow (Monday) to deliberate the Thai Raksa Chart party’s future following their nomination of Princess Ubolratana as a prime ministerial candidate in the March 24 election.

But the EC’s secretary-general, Jarungvith Phumma, has declined to comment on the matter when asked about the party’s surprise Friday PM candidate, saying only that “all issues would be discussed”.

Regarding the Thai Raksa Chart party’s prime ministerial nomination, a ‘well-informed source’ has told Thai PBS that the EC might have two options going forward…

Option One is to consider a formal complaint from Paiboon Nititawan, leader of the People’s Reform party, accusing the Thai Raksa Chart party of breaching Rule 17 of the regulations which prohibits candidates or parties from using the Monarchy for electioneering.

Option Two is to launch its own probe into the matter, says the source.

A statement was issued by HM the King on Friday at 11pm that says involving a member of the Royal Family in politics is highly inappropriate as it is at odds with the long-held tradition that the Monarchy and the Royal Family are above politics.

The morning after (Saturday), the Thai Raksa Chart party issued a statement pledging to comply with the Royal Command and offering its thanks to the Princess.

For her part, Princess Ubolratana posted on her popular Instagram account yesterday thanking the Thai people for their love and support without making any direct reference to the stunning events of the day before.

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

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

The Thaiger & The Nation



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

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2,810 MP candidates line up for March 24 election

The Thaiger



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


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

The Thaiger



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.

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