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Election

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election

The Thaiger

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Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Instagram

In a stunning political move, Princess Ubolratana Mahidol,  the eldest child of the late King Bhumibol, Rama 9, has been nominated by the Thai Raksa Chart party.

Her nomination as a Prime Ministerial candidate immediately places the plans of current PM and the Junta-leaning Palang Pracharat party into disarray.

To paint this as an ‘upset’ move in the last day of nominations is an understatement. Not only now running as an opponent to the NCPO Chief, who is running as a PM candidate for Palang Pracharat, but also running with a party historically aligned with a fugitive former prime minister.

This is the first time a close member of the royal family has sought political office in Thialand’s 86 years as a constitutional monarchy. Today is the final day political parties can nominate candidates for next month’s election.

The Princess’s entry into politics has completely reshaped what was already looking like a major battle for votes from multiple fronts – new parties and the largest field of candidates ever standing for a national election.

The announcement today is seen as a profoundly political maneuver from the country’s highest institution and shades the military, and Prayut, as it prepares to cede power.

The Thai national election is being held on March 24.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election | News by The Thaiger

Thai Raksa Chart party make the announcement this morning.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election | News by The Thaiger Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election | News by The Thaiger Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election | News by The Thaiger Princess Ubolratana Mahidol runs as Prime Ministerial candidate in election | News by The Thaiger

Photos from the Princess’s Instagram page



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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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