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Constitutional Court orders investigation of 32 MPs in media share row

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Constitutional Court orders investigation of 32 MPs in media share row | The Thaiger
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The Thai Constitutional Court has agreed to accept a petition against 32 MPs from the military-aligned coalition over alleged media share holdings. But the Court has allowed the MPs to continue their parliamentary duties. This dispensation was not offered to anti-junta politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit from the opposition Future Forward Party who is being investigated over the same allegations.

The court said this case was different from that of Thanathorn, in whose case the junta-appointed Election Commission had already conducted an initial investigation to confirm wrongdoing before the case was forwarded to the court.

The Constitutional Court reasons that the 32 MPs should not be suspended because it was still unclear if the businesses in which they had invested could in fact be considered media.

There was no committee investigating the 32 new cases before they were submitted to the court, the judges said, adding since the matter was still unclear, the MPs should not be suspended from their parliamentary duties.

Nine other MPs who had also been subject to complaints for possibly breaching the Constitution by holding media shares, were spared in yesterday’s decision. The court turned down the petition to examine their cases. The MPs spared included six from Palang Pracharat and three from the Democrats.

The court said its examination of the documents presented by the plaintiff showed that the companies in which these nine MPs had invested had no objective to run a newspaper or any type of media business.

The total of 41 MPs, like Thanathorn, had been accused of holding shares in media companies. The petition had been filed by Future Forward MPs through the parliamentary mechanism and submitted to the Constitutional Court with endorsement by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

The 2017 Constitution prohibits shareholdings in media companies for MPs and MP candidates. Violation of the rule is punishable with disqualification of the MP, imprisonment and fine, as well as a 20-year ban from politics.

The court’s decision to allow the embattled MPs to continue their work in the lower house favours the pro-junta bloc, which has only a slim majority over its rival bloc. If the Palang Pracharat MPs had been suspended from their duties any lower house vote, including a vote of no confidence, would have been lost by the pro-Junta government.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Protests

Activists agree to step back, while telling PM to resign by Sunday

Maya Taylor

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Activists agree to step back, while telling PM to resign by Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Benar News

Following a televised address to the nation by the Thai PM at 7pm last night, amid rising political tension, anti-government protesters have agreed to take a step back. However, they are still insisting the Thai leader must resign by Sunday and calling for all charges against arrested activists to be dropped. While speaking to the nation via a televised broadcast last night, Prayut Chan-o-cha said he would be the first to step back and called on those protesting against his leadership to do the same.

“At this point, we all need to take a step back, to step back from the brink, away from the path that would plunge Thailand into disaster.”

Yesterday afternoon, protesters again assembled at the Victory Monument in Bangkok and proceeded to march to Government House, but had their path temporarily blocked by police cordons behind barriers and barbed wire. The activists managed to break through the cordon and continued to Government House. However, at Chamaimayarachet Bridge, another police blockade had been created to protect nearby Government House, with the controversial water cannons on standby.

2 buses were also used in the blockade, with a number of protesters climbing on top of one bus to read statements and repeat their call for the PM to go. Activists also handed a large-scale, mock resignation letter to Pakkapong Pongpetra, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The protesters have vowed to return if the PM has not resigned by Sunday.

During his address last night, the PM did not address the issue of the demands for his resignation.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

Former Pheu Thai chair to challenge legality of State of Emergency

Maya Taylor

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Former Pheu Thai chair to challenge legality of State of Emergency | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thai politician and former chair of the Pheu Thai Party, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, has confirmed she plans to challenge the legality of the state of emergency in court. She joins a number of opposition MPs and other activists who are petitioning to have the order lifted. Bangkok awoke to a state of emergency declared by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha in the early hours of last Thursday, amid growing political unrest.

Posting on her Facebook page, Sudarat points to the PM himself, who she describes as, “the source of the problem”. She says the current political protests are a result of him using a military coup to take control from the people, and then drafting a charter that supported the transfer of power to Thailand’s military.

“Other politicians and I have followed the situation with concern and tried to prevent the government from applying their power. We had a discussion yesterday and agreed that we should use the right in the court to protect the protesters.”

Two MPs from the Pheu Thai Party have also expressed their intention to sue the PM for having invoked the emergency order. Cholnan Srikaew and Jirayu Houngsub are calling on the Civil Court to rescind the state of emergency and guarantee the protection of anti-government activists.

Nation Thailand reports that former judge, Kasem Suphasit, and former Democrat MP, Watchara Petchthong, have also confirmed they are taking legal action against the PM, claiming the implementation of the state of emergency is unlawful.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Protests

Letter calling for Thai PM’s resignation signed by over 1,000 academics

Maya Taylor

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Letter calling for Thai PM’s resignation signed by over 1,000 academics | The Thaiger
Anusorn Unno, anthropology lecturer at Thammasat Universit. PHOTO: www.db.sac.or.th

A petition calling for the resignation of Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, has been signed by up to 1,118 academics and delivered to Government House. The petition was created by the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights. Nation Thailand reports that a group of university lecturers and students have marched to Government House to deliver the letter. They include Anusorn Unno, anthropology lecturer at Thammasat University, and Thamrongsak Petchlertanan, a lecturer in Political Science at Rangsit University.

In the letter, academics slam the government’s clampdown on an October 16 rally in Bangkok, when police used water cannons, allegedly laced with blue-dyed chemical irritants, to disperse protesters at the Pathumwan intersection.

Anusorn claims the action injured several people and only served to ignite further anger at the government. He is calling on the administration to refrain from violence when dealing with protesters, to stop the gagging of government critics, put an end to laws that infringe on freedom of speech, and to cede to the protesters’ demands.

Those demands are outlined in a 10-point manifesto and include the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of parliament, and a call for fresh elections. The manifesto appeared at a protest in early August and has since provided a consistent ‘script’ for the protest movement. Protesters are also calling for a re-write of the 2017 Thai Charter (Constitution) and for reforms to the role of the Thai Monarchy.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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