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‘Ministry deals’ in tatters – Palang Pracharat revoke cabinet post promises

The Thaiger & The Nation

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‘Ministry deals’ in tatters – Palang Pracharat revoke cabinet post promises | The Thaiger
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“One source, a core leader in Phalang Pracharat, confirmed the previous deals had been revoked.”

Thailand’s hosting of the ASEAN Summit from June 20 to 23 is forcing Palang Pracharat members to stitch together its government and sort out key ministerial posts before the event.

More than two months after the election, and following the election of a PM that saw Prayut Chan-o-cha return to the office, the parties within the pro-military bloc have yet to reach agreement over ministerial positions. Indeed, it is clear now that the the pro-junta Palang Pracharat party is going to renege on its deals to allocate key ministerial positions to coalition partners in return for their support for the PM vote.

Phalang Pracharat has reportedly insisted on controlling economy-related ministries – Agriculture, Commerce and Transport – that it had earlier agreed to allocate to key partners, the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties. The backtracking follows intensive talks before the vote for the PM as Palang Pracharat struggled to get a clear majority of votes in the lower house.

One source, a core leader in Phalang Pracharat, confirmed the previous deals had been revoked. If the Democrats and Bhumjaithai refused to accept the new arrangement, the source said, Prayut would have final say on the issue.

Phalang Pracharat leader Uttama Savanayana said in a press conference yesterday that as the PM, it was traditional that Prayut would make the final decision on the Cabinet.

Sources also said the disagreement stemmed from the election of the PM on Wednesday, in which an absent Prayut was criticised for 12 hours before finally being approved in the vote. In charge of the session was the Democrats’ Chuan Leekpai, who was elected House Speaker with support from the pro-junta bloc.

Phalang Pracharat decided it could not lose the crucial economic positions to its partners without suffering disadvantage, the sources said. It would also make it difficult for Phalang Pracharat to play the leading role in administration, they added.

It has been reported that if Phalang Pracharat does not gain control over the key ministries, economist Somkid Jatusripitak would withdraw from the bloc.

Fresh talks among the partners would be based on the political party system by which party executives lead the negotiations and decisions are made at party meetings, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the anti-junta bloc was preparing to form a united opposition to confront the Prayut administration in Parliament.

The Pheu Thai Party could replace its leader, Viroj Pao-in, with Chiang Mai MP Sompong Amornvivat, as it prepares for parliamentary skirmishes as the leading opposition party.

Its secretary-general, Phumtham Wechayachai, admitted on Friday that Pheu Thai began considering the leadership change after political developments landed it in opposition.

Phumtham said Sompong would be an appropriate choice for the job as an experienced parliamentarian, a good organiser and a respected figure able to lead the seven-party opposition. But the decision would have to be made at a party meeting in July or August, he said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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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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Protests

House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session

Maya Taylor

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House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Speaker of the lower house of Parliament has confirmed that there is cross-party agreement for an extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened in the wake of the ongoing political unrest in Thailand. Chuan Leekpai has notified PM Prayut Chan-o-cha of the agreement to hold the special session in a bid to seek a resolution to the conflict. Anti-government protests have been taking place all over the country since mid-July and, while all have been peaceful, rallies are increasing in size and frequency. Activists are pitching a 10-point manifesto, with demands including the resignation of the PM, the dissolution of parliament and the holding of fresh elections, as well as a re-drafting of the constitution.

In his letter to the PM, Chuan calls on the cabinet to back the announcement of a Royal Decree, which will declare the opening of the special session. He proposes an initial general debate, with no voting requirement, so that MPs and senators can express their opinions and work to find a solution to the current impasse. The PM has already voiced his support for an extraordinary session of parliament.

Meanwhile, a number of opposition figures are calling for the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok to be lifted, declaring its implementation illegal and unnecessary. They are threatening legal action against the government if this proves to be the case, with the Pheu Thai Party renewing its calls for the PM’s resignation.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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