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Election

Prayut puts himself up as PM candidate in the March 24 Thai election

The Thaiger

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Prayut puts himself up as PM candidate in the March 24 Thai election | The Thaiger

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has formally accepted an invitation to stand as prime minister candidate for the Palang Pracharath Party. The announcement has been expected for weeks.

Gen Prayut, head of the NCPO, and PM since the 2014 coup announced his decision in a message to the Thai this morning.

He made a plea for the ‘status quo’ saying that “violent political conflict and disunity had plagued the country, stalled national development and affected people’s lives, democracy-based law enforcement and the exercise of administrative, legislative and judicial power for over a decade.”

He claimed that the NCPO and his un-elected government had “solved the situation and restored national order and peace, and brought national and economic development, political stability and a peaceful life for the people.”

“There had been an unprecedented and critical deadlock in the country and no way out could be foreseen at that time.”

PM Prayut says he carefully considered the invitation and policies of the Palang Pracharath Party and whether they could build on what the NCPO had done for the country, before accepting the invitation.

“I am a person who is ready to sacrifice my life to protect the nation and I am confident and determined that I can join forces with fellow people to develop our country, to move forward with peace and unity and without any more social conflict.”

Meanwhile, completely over-shadowing his candidacy today , Princess Ubolratana Mahidol,  the eldest child of the late King Bhumibol, and the older sister of the current King of Thailand, has been nominated by the Thai Raksa Chart party.

Her nomination as a Prime Ministerial candidate for a party, previously with ties to the Shinawatra family, has thrown the field wide open and will completely change the dynamics of the campaign leading up to the March 24 poll.

Read about her candidacy announcement HERE.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Election

Pheu Thai now claims to have the numbers to form a coalition. So does Palang Pracharat.

The Thaiger

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Pheu Thai now claims to have the numbers to form a coalition. So does Palang Pracharat. | The Thaiger

Pheu Thai Party, which at this stage has emerged as the winner of the most lower house seats after the general election, says they’ve gathered enough support from political allies to form a coalition government. The party’s secretary general Phumtham Vechayachai made the claim at a meeting this morning.

He said Pheu Thai and other parties now command enough MPs to form a majority government but didn’t name them.

But he admitted that Bhumjaithai Party, a mid-sized party, which is now seen as a king-maker in the post-election scenario, had made no commitment to join the coalition.

Phumtham denied reports that Pheu Thai had already offered Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul the post of PM in return for his party’s MP votes.

Meanwhile, the pro-Prayut Palang Pracharath, currently trailing behind Pheu Thai in terms of House seats, has launched their own attempts to form a coalition government.

Pheu Thai says it has a mandate to form a government based on the number of seats it won while Palang Pracharath claims it has more popular votes than the pro-Thaksin party.

While the Election Commission has yet to formally announce election results amidst a political deadlock, it’s clear that Bhumjaithai has emerged a key factor in determining any new Thai government. The party is being courted by both Pheu Thai and Palang Pracharath.

Pheu Thai now has the Future Forward Party of Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as a major ally along with a few other smaller anti-Prayut parties but still needs to have Bhumjaithai on its side to be able to form a workable majority government.

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Election

Petition aims to impeach Election Commissioners

The Thaiger

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Petition aims to impeach Election Commissioners | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Election Commission chief Ittiporn Boonpracong – The Nation

More than 670,000 people have signed a petition at the change.org website calling for the Election Commission’s five commissioners to be ‘stood aside’ pending an investigation in the aftermath of the March 24 Thai election.

Petitioners contend that the election was marred by mistakes, blunders and tampering.

The campaign could actually become a legitimate threat to the five commissioners due to the large number of signatories.

The petition may be submitted to the NLA speaker in the hope he would submit it to the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The NLA Senators would require 60% support to recommend impeachment of the EC commissioners, according to the Thai Constitution (Charter).

In the meantime the five commissioners would be suspended from duties throwing the election outcome into confusion.

Yesterday, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, mostly silent during the campaign leading up to March 24, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times alleging the number of ballots seemed to exceed the number of voters in some booths while in other areas voter turn-out was reported to be twice as many people registered.

His claims were made without evidence.

For their part, the EC claims they were cyber-hacked on Sunday evening.

Deputy EC secretary-general Nat Laosisawakul says, ”There were three attacks that caused the system to crash twice.”

“Some poll station staff also made errors in compiling the votes.”

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Election

Parties race to cobble together a working coalition

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Parties race to cobble together a working coalition | The Thaiger

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

INFOGRAPHIC: The Nation

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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