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Thai PM apologises for weekend bickering from Palang Pracharat factions

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Thai PM apologises for weekend bickering from Palang Pracharat factions | The Thaiger
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The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has issued an apology and expressed “discomfort” over Palang Pracharat’s internal bickering that has dominated headlines over the weekend.

The Prime Minister returned from the G20 meetings in Japan yesterday.

The former leader of the NCPO, former PM, and now newly selected PM by the new parliament, is pledging to do his best.

The Palang Pracharat Party is a loose coalition of 20 separate parties that has a bare margin to push forward policy in the new parliament. The PM said it was difficult to make everyone happy. But most important was how to make the government credible to the public, he added.

After more than three months the new government doesn’t have a working cabinet although the PM’s comments sound like a prelude to making a final announcement about the make-up of the new Cabinet.

His statement this morning came after the influential so-called Sam Mitr (Three Allies) faction in the party expressed discontent over Cabinet portfolios over the weekend. Its leader, Suriya Juangroongruangkit, had reportedly been allocated the Cabinet post of Industry Minister after a previous agreement that he would head the Energy Ministry.

Suriya had reportedly said last week that he would consider withdrawing from Phalang Pracharat Party and taking some 30 MPs with him if he did not get the Energy seat.

The veteran politician denied the reports on Saturday but other signs still pointed to serious conflict within the party.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Royalists rally at US Embassy, call on Americans to stop “interfering” with Thai politics

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royalists rally at US Embassy, call on Americans to stop “interfering” with Thai politics | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter: @justin_th_th

Royalists gathered this morning at the United States Embassy in Bangkok and called on Americans to stop a so-called “hybrid war,” implying that the US government is interfering with Thailand politics during a time of ongoing pro-democracy protests.

Dressed in yellow, the colour symbolising the Thai Monarch, the protesters held signs calling on an end to an alleged hybrid war. Some waved the Thailand national flag and some held up photos of the Royal family. One sign read “Stop hybrid war. Please return peace to the world.”

A large sign was directed at Ambassador Michael George DeSombre, who also served on the board Hong Kong forum which, according to the US government, “seeks to promote the exchange of ideas between scholars and policymakers worldwide and to foster communication between the US and China.”

The sign read “Mr. DeSombre! Your job in Hong Kong was good, but it doesn’t work for Thailand.”

Former singer and member of the Thai Pakdee royalist group, Hurethai Muangboonsri, led the rally and accused the US government of creating divide in Thailand, without providing any details or evidence.

“Don’t make Thais fight among each other or our nation will collapse. Remember that! Stop the conflict and stop the interference. This is Thailand, not Hong Kong.”

It’s unclear how many people showed up at the rally, but Nation Thailand says 20 police officers from Lumpini Station were deployed to secure the area around the embassy.

Whether or not the US is meddling with Thai politics, a pro-democracy activist told The Thaiger in a previous interview that political protests in America have influenced and motivated some in Thailand to rally and speak up for change.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| US Government

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Protests

Thai PM: Do you know what will happen if I resign?

Maya Taylor

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Thai PM: Do you know what will happen if I resign? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandnews.co

The Thai PM has asked opposition MPs if they know what would happen if he resigns – then proceeded to tell them. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called on members of the opposition to clarify whether they want him to resign or to dissolve the House of Representatives.

Thai PBS World reports that his comment was in response to Pheu Thai MP Chulapant Amornvivat urging him to do the responsible thing and step down. The PM replied by asking if MPs knew what that would entail. He then went on to explain that if he resigns, Cabinet would technically be dissolved too, but be required to remain on in an acting capacity until there is a replacement Cabinet.

He added that a new PM would be elected by Parliament (under the current 2017 charter), but the winning candidate would need half of MP and Senators’ votes. He then pointed out that if he opts to dissolve the House of Representatives, all MPs lose their parliamentary status and a general election will be called.

Anti-government protests have been taking place since mid-July and show no sign of stopping. Indeed the royalist factions are now mounting counter-protests in support of the government and ‘status quo’ as regards the Thai monarchy. The primarily student-led movement is calling for the PM’s resignation, the dissolution of Parliament, fresh elections, and a Charter (constitution) re-write, among other demands. So far, the PM has held fast despite growing calls for him to go.

Protesters handed over a letter at the German Embassy last night.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

Thanathorn, other former Future Forward Party officials, are facing criminal charges

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thanathorn, other former Future Forward Party officials, are facing criminal charges | The Thaiger
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16 people from the dissolved Future Forward Party, including the former leader Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit, could face criminal charges pressed by the Election Commission for a large donation that exceeds the maximum allowed under the Political Parties Act. The timing of the politically-charged legal action coincides with a peak of anti-government protest activity.

The 191 million baht loan, which exceeds the limit of 10 million baht per donor per year, led the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Future Forward Party back in February. The Court also ordered the party’s executive MPs be stripped of their parliamentary status and banned from politics for 10 years.

Thanathorn, who is accused of making the large donation to the party, could face a charge under Section 66 of the Political Parties Act which limits donations to 10 million baht per donor per year, a source told the Bangkok Post. If he’s found guilty, Thanathorn could spend up to 5 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 baht. He could also be banned from political activity for another 5 years.

15 other former members of the Future Forward Party, including former secretary general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul and spokesperson Pannika Wanich, could face charges for dealing with funds from illegitimate sources, the source told the Bangkok Post. The violation holds a maximum penalty of 3 years in jail and a fine of 1 million baht.

The 191 million baht loan could also be seized and there has been talk that it could be given to the Political Party Development Fund.

The Future Forward Party had gained a large following, especially among young voters who were attracted to the progressive political policies. The party garnered the third highest number of votes in the March 2019 election, after less than a year in existence. Thanathorn says he supports the recent pro-democracy movement which is calling on government and monarchy reform as well as a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution. Activists are also pushing PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign.

Thanathorn, also a staunch critic of Thailand’s military, ran for prime minster against Prayut last year. Prayut, a former army general who led the 2014 military coup, beat Thanathorn with 500 to 244 parliament votes. Half of Prayut’s votes came from senators who were appointed by the military junta National Council for Peace and Order, or NCPO.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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