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Parties race to cobble together a working coalition

The Thaiger & The Nation



Parties race to cobble together a working coalition | The Thaiger
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Day Two following the election and the only thing that is clear is that nothing is clear at this stage.

Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat are both claiming the right to form a government with support of like-minded parties.

The two rival parties, the pro-democracy Pheu Thai and the pro-Junta Phalang Pracharat, are locked in a close battle to form the next government with little difference between the two in terms of strength in Parliament.

The Phalang Pracharat Party claims it has secured the “popular vote” from people nationwide. But Pheu Thai argues it has won the most number of MP seats and therefore should be invited first to form the government.

With 95 per cent of votes counted as of last night, the pro-junta party grossed 7,939,937 votes nationwide while the Shinawatra-backed Pheu Thai was second with 7,423,361 votes.

In this election, under the new Constitution, the total number of votes for each party, irrespective of whether its constituency candidates win or not, are combined to determine how many MPs each party gets in total.

The Election Commission yesterday announced unofficial results of constituency winners. Pheu Thai Party became the single-largest party with 138 seats from all 350 constituencies. Phalang Pracharat, meanwhile, came second, winning 96 seats.

According to current media calculations, the total number of seats from constituency and party-list, Pheu Thai will get the most number at 138 while Phalang Pracharat will have 119. The EC has not calculated the number of party-list seats at this stage and may take the rest of the week to come up with a published result.

Though both parties can make equally strong claims to form the government, analysts believe it will not be easy for either to form the next Parliament.

According to the latest figures, the pro-junta camp can gain around 242 seats with support from parties who are clearly opposed to Pheu Thai.

The Pheu Thai camp can also muster 242 seats with support from anti-junta parties like Future Forward, Seri Ruam Thai and Prachachart.

“Only the winning party should lead the coalition,” say the Pheu Thai’ de facto leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan.

Parties race to cobble together a working coalition | News by The Thaiger


Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said that the party was seeking collaboration with other pro-democracy parties and would discuss the PM candidate to find the best option for the country.

Pheu Thai leaders have also started putting pressure on the junta-appointed Senate, stressing that senators must be free of any influence and respect the people’s voices as reflected in the election.

Later yesterday, Phalang Pracharat Party leader Uttama Savanayana claimed his party had won the right to form the next government as more than 7.9 million people nationwide had voted for them. He also said he was confident his party could successfully form the next government.

“Every vote is counted and has meaning. We have legitimacy, as we have gained the most trusted votes. Our winning results (with the most votes nationwide) show that voters have given us the mandate to govern the country,” he said at a press conference after the EC announced the unofficial results.

“We will ensure that we will do everything according to the mandate of the voters who want us to move the country forward peacefully,” he said.

A Phalang Pracharat source said negotiations were on with Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul, Chartthai Pattana leader Kanchana Silpa-archa, Suthep Thaugsuban of Action Coalition for Thailand and Suwat Liptapanlop of Chartpattana. The Democrat Party is also negotiating.

Anutin yesterday did not commit to joining any side, saying he would do whatever was in the people’s interests.

Meanwhile, the Future Forward Party celebrated victories in 30 constituencies in its electoral debut. But its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, said he had no intentions of bidding for the top job.

“The prime minister must be nominated from the party with the most MPs,” Thanathorn said firmly at a press conference yesterday.

“I’m ready to be the PM. But we want to uphold democratic traditions and we won’t bring in any conditions that would lead the country to another deadlock.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thanathorn disqualified as Member of Parliament – Thai Constitutional Court

The Thaiger



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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School funding challenge for bilingual curriculum

Maya Taylor



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.

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Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises

The Thaiger



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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