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Over 40 new parties registered in one day

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Over 40 new parties registered in one day | The Thaiger

By Kas Chanwanpen

As many as 42 groups of people requested to establish new political parties on the first day of pre-registration organised by the Election Commission (EC) yesterday.

The EC’s head office at Government Complex was full of energy as hundreds of prospective party founders and their supporters lined up to reserve the names and logos of new parties. Observers said so many groups showed up on the first day possibly because political activities had been restricted since the ruling junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) came to power after the May 2014 coup. But most analysts believe that only a few newly registered parties will be viable.

At least two pro-junta groups showed up yesterday, registering the names People’s Reform Party, which is led by former senator Paiboon Nititawan, and Palang Chart Thai (Thai Nation Power) under the leadership of Maj-General Songklod Thiprat. Both men have previously worked under the coup-installed regime.

Over 40 new parties registered in one day | News by The Thaiger

However, two highly anticipated new prospective parties, one backed by politician-turned-protester Suthep Thaugsuban and the other by pro-democracy billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, were not registered yesterday as their representatives were not seen at the venue. They are expected to show up later this month.

Many party founders present yesterday are political novices with backgrounds in business, civil society, academia or agriculture. Among the crowd was a YouTube celebrity. One group wore T-shirts with the faces of the most bitter political rivals arranged in a heart shape above the word “reconciliation”.

Over 40 new parties registered in one day | News by The Thaiger

Registration will be open until the end of the month and election authorities have 30 days to approve the applications. Political scientist Stithorn Thananithichot said he believed the so-called “new blood” party led by young progressive people such as Thanathorn and law professor Piyabutr Saengkanokkul could offer new hope for politics.

“Politics has been frozen for four to five years. To change anything, we need new people in politics. And when I see this group, I feel we have some hope,” Stithorn said.

However, Thanathorn and Piyabutr might be perceived by the right wing as being critical of the monarchy, which some believe could be a potential disadvantage for them in the election. Piyabutr, an academic with the Nitirat group, told BBC Thai earlier that he expected his new party would be a tool to bring people out of the dictatorship and return the country to a normal political system after a “lost decade” due to political conflicts.

Over 40 new parties registered in one day | News by The Thaiger

The Nitirat group of academics is known for campaigning for amendments to the lese majeste law. Thanathorn’s group included progressive pro-democracy people as their supporters, but their success remained uncertain, Stithorn said.

“I think they can win tens or hundreds of thousands of votes – enough to have maybe one seat in Parliament,” the political scientist said.

“It is uncertain if they can steal votes from Pheu Thai Party. There are some people who are loyal to the Shinawatra family and others who look at the end results. If they want to win the election, they have to vote Pheu Thai.”

A new party that was expected to be successful would be backed by Suthep’s group, thanks to support from people affiliated with the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee, Stithorn said.

Well-established parties like Pheu Thai and the Democrats may also need young blood to boost their image, he said. In the pre-registration process, political groups could only reserve party names. Their official status as a political party will be confirmed only after they complete administrative work following the new regulations, such as gathering at least 500 founding members and raising a capital fund.

Newly registered parties also needed to seek permission from the ruling junta if they wanted to convene party meetings, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday. He said they could do so by making requests through the EC and that the NCPO would consider such requests on a case-by-case basis. The junta still has not completely “unlocked the political restrictions” so new parties must be careful, he said.

Wissanu added that political parties had the right to name the candidates they wanted to support to become prime minister, but they were still not allowed to introduce policy platforms.

EC President Supachai Somcharoen said yesterday the number of new parties involved in the first day of pre-registrations was “beyond expectations”. Despite its responsibility to ensure a free and fair election, Supachai said it was not the EC’s job to examine if new parties might have been formed in particular to support General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return as prime minister. The EC just registered groups that met the qualifications required by the law, he said. In response to suspicions that some party names might be registered to be resold in the future, Supachai said it was unlikely given that party founders had to raise at least 1 million baht to confirm parties’ status.

Election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyagorn yesterday said the large number of parties seeking registration reflected the present-day high degree of public interest in political matters. However, he added that not all the prospective parties would succeed in being formally approved.

Over 40 new parties registered in one day | News by The Thaiger



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Crime

Two arrested on human trafficking charges in Koh Samui

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Two arrested on human trafficking charges in Koh Samui | The Thaiger

Two suspects have been arrested on human-trafficking charges for allegedly prostituting girls under the age of 18 on Koh Samui, under the guise of operating a karaoke bar.

18 year old ‘ladyboy’ Chaiyasit Nijkham and 28 year old Sukanya Phadaeng were arrested in a raid when undercover officers visited the bar as customers.

While at the bar, the officers were approached by the suspects who offered them the sexual services of three girls – all under 17 years of age – in exchange for 6,000 baht, according to the Royal Thai Police’s Children, Youth and Women’s Division superintendent Pol Colonel Damrongsak Onta who led the sting.

The suspects reportedly confessed to having run the bar and procuring teenage girls for prostitution for over a year. The cost of sexual services was 2,000 per time, of which 300 baht went to the bar and the remainder was kept by the girl.

The suspects were hit with three charges – conspiring to commit a human-trafficking crime (by benefiting from underage prostitution), procuring girls over 15 but under 18 for prostitution and violating the Child Protection Act.

SOURCE: The Nation

Two arrested on human trafficking charges in Koh Samui | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

Owner of boarding school arrested for allegedly killing 15 year old student

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Owner of boarding school arrested for allegedly killing 15 year old student | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tapakorn “Chaidaen” Sapsin, who died on June 13

by Wasukit Lao-in

Police have arrested the 27 year old owner of a boarding school in Nakhon Sawan, his wife and his mother-in-law, for their alleged role in the assault of a 15 year old schoolboy earlier this month which led to his death five days later. The school owner has maintained his innocence and plans to have his lawyer post a bail application for him later.
Nakhon Sawan is in central Thailand.
Nattapol Thavornpibul, owner of “Tutoring School by Pee Nat”, his wife Piraya Palasen and his mother-in-law Nonglak Palasen face the charge of conspiring to assault schoolboy Tapakorn “Chaidaen” Sapsin, leading to his death.

The 15 year old had moved from Tak province to live and study at the tutoring school to prepare for entrance exams for the military academy. He had been living there for nearly two years with 10 other students.

The boy is believed to have sustained injuries on June 9, but was only taken to Sawan Pracharak Hospital when he became comatose on June 12. He died the next day while in the intensive care unit.

The suspects claimed Tapakorn had died from injuries he sustained from “tripping and hitting his head on the railings of a staircase while playing with friends”, but the boy’s parents were sceptical and filed a police complaint on June 14.

Post-mortem tests showed the boy had a head wound closed with seven stitches, a broken arm and trauma of the pancreas, which led to bleeding in his stomach.

A source at the Muang Nakhon Sawan Police Station said arrest warrants had been sought after many students and alumni told police, public prosecutors and members of the multi-disciplinary team that Natthapol had allegedly led four other youths to assault Tapakorn, which led to the fatal injuries.

Police had previously quoted Natthapol as admitting under police interrogation that he had hit the boy 20 times with a baseball bat because the boy had been arguing with his mother-in-law as she would not let him use his mobile phone to call home.

SOURCE: The Nation

Owner of boarding school arrested for allegedly killing 15 year old student | News by The Thaiger

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Technology

Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing’s woes

The Thaiger

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Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing’s woes | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The new, single-aisle Airbus A321NeoXLR, extra-long-range version

Boeing suffered more setbacks whilst Airbus launched an update to their single-aisle line up. Day one at the Paris Airshow.

Boeing’s latest creation the 777X will have to wait for General Electric’s specially-constructed new jets to arrive following another delay in testing.

The long delay is a blow to Boeing, already struggling to cope with the crisis in its single-aisle 737 MAX jet program. It will likely postpone the new 777’s entry into service, planned for the middle of next year, and will hit both Boeing’s airline customers and the downstream supply chain.

GE Aviation say they’ve found unexpected wear in a component for the new GE9X engine it is making for Boeing’s latest version of the 777, the world’s largest twin-engined jet, forcing a delay of several months while it redesigns and tests the part.

Boeing commercial airplanes boss Kevin McAllister told Reuters it was premature to predict any delays to the 777X program. The planemaker says they’re still targeting a maiden flight this year and entry into service the next.

This year’s Paris Airshow, usually a slug-fest between the US and European plane manufacturers, is being over-shadowed this year by the problems the US Seattle-based company is facing, on many fronts.

Meanwhile, Airbus has used the show to launch a long-range version of its A321neo jet, which will allow airlines to carve out new routes with smaller planes.

The Airbus chief salesman Christian Scherer says the new single-aisle A321 variant will be able to economically fly “from north-eastern Asia into south Asia, from the Middle East to Bali or from Japan deep into Australia, and so on”.

The new A321 variant is a direct competitor to the troubled Boeing 737 make-over, the MAX 8 & 9 series, which has become embroiled in controversy since the crash of two of the new planes, in October last year and March this year. The model remains grounded around the world as airlines moot cancellations of orders and court cases are being mounted by families of the dead passengers from the two disasters.

Sources at the Paris Airshow says Airbus was trying to assemble close to 200 orders or conversions to the new A321 model as it chases deals with carriers including American Airlines, JetBlue, Cebu Air and Frontier Airlines owner Indigo Partners.

Paris Airshow overshadowed by Boeing's woes | News by The Thaiger

The new Boeing 777X model is facing further delays with an announcement that GE have to do further testing of the jet’s new engines.

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