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Forming the next Thai government – Bhumjaithai and Democrats will decide

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Forming the next Thai government – Bhumjaithai and Democrats will decide | Thaiger

The result of who becomes the next government won’t come down to Palang Pracharat, Pheu Thai or even Future Forward. The horse-trading, that has been ongoing since the first results emerged after the March 24 election, has come down to some very simple maths.

The ‘swinging’ Bhumjaithai Party. Their votes will sweep either Pheu Thai or the Junta-in-civilian-clothing, Palang Pracharat, to power. They are the most likely of the ‘non committed’ parties to fall behind the anti-Junta gang although they are playing their cards very close to their chest right now.

The anti-junta bloc currently falls short of MPs required to form a government after its seat count fell from 255 to 245 under the Election Commission’s controversial party-list calculation method. But pro-democracy figures remain optimistic, as they believe not all the seats from the remaining 20 winning parties will necessarily go to Phalang Pracharat.

Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai yesterday tweeted that the pro-junta camp had only secured 138 seats in the lower house so far against the opposition bloc’s 245 seats.

The undecided faction comprising Democrat, Bhumjaithai, Chartthaipattana and Chartpattana parties now accounted for 116 MPs, he added.

“It’s the Thai people’s duty to press this faction to make a decision,” the anti-junta politician said. “The country is in your hands. Don’t let anyone destroy it.”

The group Phumtham called the undecided faction, however, is viewed as leaning towards the pro-regime camp.

Earlier in the week it was reported that the Democrats and Bhumjaithai have been offered six spots each in the Cabinet by a buoyant Palang Pracharat, following the latest announcements about Party-list seats.

Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul dismissed the rumours yesterday, writing on Facebook that there had been neither talks on setting up a government nor negotiations over Cabinet seats.

“Bhumjaithai is listening to the voice of the people,” Anutin wrote.

A Democrat Party source also denied having negotiated with the pro-regime bloc, saying talks could be conducted after next Wednesday when the party chooses its new leader.

Political analyst Anusorn Unno, dean of the Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology at Thammasat University says that with the dust still not settled from the election results there were still possibilities for the anti-junta camp to beat its rival to form the government.

“It’s at the negotiation stage right now,” he said.

“It is unclear how many or which parties will support the |current regime. They only have three parties now with only some 120 MPs.”

While many doubt that Bhumjaithai would join the anti-junta camp, Anusorn reckons anything is possible since party leader Anutin had said the decision had yet to be made.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Election

Education minister’s wife plans to run for governor of Bangkok

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Education minister’s wife plans to run for governor of Bangkok | Thaiger

The education minister of Thailand’s wife is planning to run for the governor of Bangkok when the city poll is called, in a move that puts her in direct competition with others for the backing of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

Nataphol Teepsuwan confirmed on Friday that his wife Taya Teepsuwan, a former core member of the now-defunct Peoples’ Democratic Reform Committee, would contest the unscheduled gubernatorial election.

Natapol met briefly with PM Prayut, with some speculating that the Government House meeting was centred around his wife’s future political career. But Natapol denied that was the focus of the meeting.

Her decision to run could be problematic as Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang or former police chief Chakthip Chaijinda are expected to run under the Palang Pracharath banner. Both of those candidates were close to the party back when PM Prayut was the junta leader.

Chakthip has given signs of his intentions to run as he set up a Facebook page this month, while Aswin has not officially made up his mind whether to run or stand aside for the former national police chief.

But Natapol says his wife, who is a former deputy Bangkok governor, plans to a run as an independent if she is passed over by Palang Pracharath. The education minister said he had informed party leader Prawit Wongsuwon of his wife’s intention.

Taya is the youngest child and only daughter of the late business tycoon Chalermbhand and Khunying Sasima Srivikorn. Along with her husband, she co-founded the Rugby International School in Chonburi.

Taya was also the managing director of Srivikorn School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University. She also has a Master’s in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems from The London School of Economics & Political Science.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Election

Voting starts in Thailand’s provinces, excluding Bangkok, alcohol ban in place until 6pm

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Voting starts in Thailand’s provinces, excluding Bangkok, alcohol ban in place until 6pm | Thaiger

Thailand goes to the polls today for the first time in 6 years for provincial elections. The last time was in 2014, just before the latest military coup seized power from the Yingluck Shinawatra government in May 2014. An election for Thailand’s central government was held in March 2019.

The elections taking place today are for the provincial administrative organisation chiefs as well as council members for the provincial administrative organisations. Pattaya and Bangkok, both considered special administrative zones, will have similar local elections sometime next year according to the Thai Election Commission (other parts of Chon Buri still have to vote today).

An alcohol sales and distribution ban is still in place in all other provinces in Thailand. It started at 6pm last night and will last until 6pm this evening, after the polls close.

Voting Thais have been told they must wear a face mask when they go to place their vote today.

A provincial administrative chief is the elected official for province management who works in conjunction with the Provincial Governor, a government appointment.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Election

US federal judge shoots down President Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania vote certification

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US federal judge shoots down President Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania vote certification | Thaiger

A US federal judge has shot down US President Trump’s campaign team’s attempt to block the certification of votes in the state of Pennsylvania. The judge issued the order that also refuted claims of widespread irregularities for mail-in ballots. The news comes after President Trump has refused to concede the election despite other leaders worldwide already recognising Joe Biden, a democrat, as the president-elect.

Pennsylvania may have been Mr. Trump’s final hope for arguing against the election results, as the state holds 20 electoral votes. In an attempt to bring the issue into court, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, made an appearance in the court, for the first time in decades, to argue the case.

But the US District Court Judge Matthew Brann wasn’t having it. In his order, he detailed Trump’s request for the court to disenfranchise almost 7 million votes. Judge Brann ruled that Pennsylvania officials indeed could certify the election results by showing that Mr. Biden had won the state by 80,000 votes. He further noted that the Trump campaign team presented strained legal arguments “without merit and speculative accusations … unsupported by evidence”.

“One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, so much that the court would have no option but to stop the certification even though it would impact so many people. That has not happened.”

Despite Pennsylvania’s strong number of votes in the electoral college, Donald Trump still would have needed to win the other lawsuits that he had filed, where his campaign team also asked to delay certification of votes. Following suit, however, most of the courts rejected the lawsuits, citing the need for proof that fraud could have occurred.

Giuliani and a Trump campaign lawyer are holding fort by noting that they welcomed the dismissal as they could appeal to the US Supreme Court faster, where Trump has continuously claimed that he has sympathetic justices. Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who helped place Judge Brann on the bench, said the ruling showed Trump had exhausted all possible legal avenues in the state and went on to congratulate Biden on his victory.

“Brann is a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist.”

Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York mayor, didn’t appear to be much of a help in the court after he seemingly confused the meaning of “opacity”, provoked an opposing lawyer, and seemed unaware of the Pennsylvania election code when he said it was illegal for counties to help people vote. Trump’s attorneys also teamed up by saying that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law was violated when Pennsylvania counties took different approaches to notifying voters before the election about technical problems with their submitted mail-in ballots.

The judge dismissed the argument entirely, and Mark Aronchick, an opposing lawyer, addressed Giuliani directly about the Pennsylvania election code

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, tweeted shortly after Brann’s ruling that “another one bites the dust.”

“These claims were meritless from the start and for an audience of one,” Shapiro said in a statement. “The will of the people will prevail. These baseless lawsuits need to end.”

SOURCE: Associate Press

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