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“Princess cannot run for office” – King of Thailand

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Princess cannot run for office” – King of Thailand | The Thaiger

After a dramatic day in Thai politics yesterday, where the Thai Raksa Chart Party dropped a bombshell into the election campaign by nominating Princess Ubolratana, the King’s eldest sister, as a prime ministerial candidate, the drama continued last night with a statement from HM The King.

The Thai monarch issued a strongly-worded statement around 11pm, prohibiting his older sister Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi from entering politics after she decided to accept a pro-Thaksin Shinawatra party’s invitation to run.

Only 12 hours after Ubolratana’s name was submitted to the Election Commission as Thai Raksa Chart Party’s sole prime ministerial candidate, His Majesty issued a nationally televised statement saying immediate members of the Royal Family traditionally stayed above politics.

The statement would appear to scuttle the plans of the Thai Raksa Chart Party to reshape this year’s election campaign and leaves the party without a PM candidate.

Princess Ubolratana, who relinquished her royal status in 1972 after marrying a foreigner, is the oldest daughter of King Rama IX.

“Though Ubolratana has given up her royal titles, she has maintained close ties with the Royal Family and worked under the name of the monarchy”, the statement said.

“It is against tradition, norms and culture to bring members of the Royal Family into politics”.

The country’s charters, including the current Constitution, have given the monarchy a special status, keeping them above politics and protecting them from legal action and defamation.

“The King has always assigned members of the Royal Family to represent and work on his behalf, hence no immediate member of the Royal Family can hold a political position”, the statement said.



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Election

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

The Thaiger & The Nation

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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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Election

2,810 MP candidates line up for March 24 election

The Thaiger

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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

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Election

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

The Thaiger

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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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