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Election

PM disses debates “I just don’t see the necessity to take part”

The Thaiger & The Nation

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PM disses debates “I just don’t see the necessity to take part” | The Thaiger

by Kas Chanwanpen

A prime ministerial candidate is refusing to take part in any of the televised political debates in the lead up to the election on March 24.

Dismissing growing calls to join the up-coming round of debates, NCPO chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha has affirmed that he attached no importance to the calls for him to outline his vision, arguing the debate stage was more about politics than policy discussions.

“I’ve long been prepared for this. But today, I just don’t see the necessity to take part,” Prayut said yesterday during his weekly press briefing, when asked about the calls for him to participate in the televised debates.

“It’s not about me being scared. It’s just that we only see them attacking each other. There’s no substance. This is no debate.”

Prayut, who is now the sole prime ministerial candidate of the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party, stressed that he would not join any of the debate sessions.

“It’s just that I’m working. I don’t have time for this eloquence thing.”

Prayut is known to be short-tempered with limited oral communication and public-speaking skills. So, while most PM candidates from all parties are living up to the election hype and joining the debates to show their leadership vision, all eyes are on the general, waiting to see how he would skirt the challenge.

Other contenders have been picking on Prayut for his absence from the prime ministerial debates.

Political scientists, meanwhile, want all candidates, including the general, to outline their vision to help voters make up their minds before casting their ballots.

In response, Prayut said plainly yesterday that his vision has been clear all along and can be seen in the government’s tagline: “Security, Prosperity and Sustainability”, which he said was based on the self-sufficiency philosophy of the late King Rama IX.

“That’s all for my vision,” Prayut concluded before elaborating that his government in the past five years had already laid out all the work on national strategy as well as other relevant legislation.

Prior to Prayut’s outright rejection of the debates, his affiliated party, Phalang Pracharat, had appeared reluctant to send him to the debates, citing legal implications given his current status as the PM and head of the ruling NCPO.

They have sent a query to the Election Commission but the agency has yet to give a reply on the legality.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Election

Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises

The Thaiger

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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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Election

Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament | The Thaiger

Election – check. Vote for PM – check. New government sworn in – not quite yet.

There is still a reported back-room fight over cabinet portfolios between factions in the Palang Pracharat Party. Several key ministries were offered to Bhumjaithai and Democrat MPs in return for voting for Prayut Chan-o-cha as PM on Wednesday.

Now that Prayut’s been installed back behind the big desk at government house, there have been sources reporting wrangling and possible back-tracking over the promises made preceding the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

  • The Democrats were promised the agriculture, commerce and social development ministries while the Bhumjaithai were reportedly offered the Transport Ministry post.
  • Palang Pracharat MPs claim that, as the leading party in the coalition, it should control key ministries to follow through on its election promises.
  • PPRP list MP Somsak Thepsuthin, a leading figure of the “Sam Mitr” faction in Palang Pracharat, claims the party needs control of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and that PM Prayut will have a final say on the matter (a notion that was flatly denied by the PPRP last week).
  • Palang Pracharat MP Buddhipongse Punnakanta admits the quota of cabinet posts for coalition parties “might” change but didn’t detail any of the Cabinet position affected, including the position of agriculture minister.
  • Newly elected House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, a former Democrat PM, waded into the issue yesterday saying he was sure that Palang Pracharat would honour the promises made in regards to Cabinet posts offered to the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
  • Democrat leader Jurin Laksanavisit says the deal with the PPRP was singed and sealed and believes it would be honoured.
  • Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charvirakul says the agreement with the PPRP remains unchanged, and insisted the party will push for its election pledges to be implemented.
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Election

“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn

The Thaiger

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“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn | The Thaiger

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40 year old Future Forward leader who was up against Prayut Chan-o-cha for the position of PM yesterday, says that the pro-democracy alliance hasn’t conceded defeat but, he says, were “robbed of their victory”.

He is vowing to work harder outside parliament to prove that to the people.

“This election is just one battle in the long journey to achieve democracy. We fiercely believe that, in the end, our day will come. Dictatorship cannot resist the winds of change, the winds of democracy. The people will cry for freedom, cry for justice.”

Thanathorn was nominated by the Pheu Thai-led alliance as their sole PM candidate for yesterday’s vote, admitted that he had little hope that both the Democrat and the Bhumjaithai parties would make the “right decision”. Without their vote the Pheu Thai alliance wouldn’t have a majority in the lower house to make a stand (even though the Senate’s votes – 250 – would have carried Prayut Chan-o-cha over the finish line anyway). As it was he only missed winning the vote in the lower house by a handful of votes.

Thai PBS reports that, despite the election defeat, the firebrand young politician pleaded with all democracy advocates not to lose hope, but to move forward with him.

“I would like to tell my brothers and sisters that this is not our end, it is just the beginning,” he said, adding that the election result was a proof that they did not work hard enough and must strive harder.

“Future Forward party would divide its work and resources into three main areas; its MPs will undertake legislative work and check the performance of the government, the party will prepare for the forthcoming local elections and strengthen the party.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS

“We were robbed of victory” - Future Forward's Thanathorn | News by The Thaiger

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