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Exam students, interrupted by violent ordination revellers, can resit their test

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Exam students, interrupted by violent ordination revellers, can resit their test | The Thaiger

“The monk, Phra Monthien, said he was so horrified when he heard about what had happened.”

A dozen or so students, interrupted when a Bangkok school was attacked on Sunday by a group of 50 angry men running a rowdy ordination next door, will be given a chance to resit the important examination they were taking at the time.

The men stormed into Wat Singh secondary school and assaulted security guards, executives and teachers after being told to lower music they were playing to celebrate a monk ordination ceremony at the adjacent Wat Singh Temple in Chomthong district.

The students, who come from various high schools in Bangkok, were taking their General Aptitude Test and Professional Aptitude Test, commonly known as GAT-PAT, when the men raided the building.

Some of the men stormed into examination rooms, resulting in the testing having to be suspended for quite some time.

When the calm finally returned, exam organisers added extra time for the students to finish but 12 of the 248 students, caught up in some of the abuse and disruption, weren’t able to continue as some of them had been physically injured during the attack. Others were still in shock.

Asst Professor Sirida Burachat, director of the National Institute of Educational Testing Service (NIETS), said a re-examination would be held at the same school on March 5, from 1-4pm. Those who were able to finish have the option of re-sitting the exam, Sirida said, but they must notify NIETS by Thursday if they wished to do so.

Meanwhile, a monk and his mother tearfully apologised yesterday after hearing that the attack had been carried out by his friends and revellers who had been attending his ordination ceremony. The monk, Phra Monthien, said he was so horrified when he heard about what had happened he actually considered leaving the monkhood.

“My family and I are apologetic to everyone affected by the incident,” he said in an interview with a news program this morning, during which he was seen using his robes to wipe his tears.

“We didn’t know anything about what had happened.”

Phra Monthien said that the incident took place while he was inside the Ubosot of Wat Sing Temple and he only heard about the incident after the ceremony ended.

“When I heard about the incident, I wanted to leave the monkhood. I want to tell all my friends who were involved in the incident to surrender to police,” the monk said.

The chaotic scenes were recorded and later shared widely after being posted on several social media platforms.

When the ordination ceremony started at the temple, loud music was played through speakers even though hundreds of students were sitting their GAT-PAT tests nearby. Exam organisers rushed to the temple and told those involved to lower the volume, explaining that it would interfere with the examination.

The violence erupted back at the school after teachers approached the revellers and asked them to lower the music. The angry men injured teachers, resulting in one sustaining a broken arm and a school executive sustaining a broken nose.

A total of 15 people were injured during the incident. A student told police that one of the attackers distressed a female student by kissing her on the cheek. They also allegedly damaged school property while some others shouted out: “If my brother doesn’t get ordained, you don’t get to do exams.”

Exam students, interrupted by violent ordination revellers, can resit their test | News by The Thaiger Exam students, interrupted by violent ordination revellers, can resit their test | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation



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Bangkok

UPDATE: Election results – what it all means

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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UPDATE: Election results – what it all means | The Thaiger

The Election Commission says the official results of the Thai general election will be announced today.

By the close of counting last night around 92% of the votes had been counted. The bleary-eyed commission decided to delay the announcement until this afternoon.

The EC chairman says the announcement of winners in each constituency had to be deferred because expat’ votes from New Zealand had not arrived on time.

The election results were widely followed as internet sites went into meltdown (including The Thaiger) as people clambered for the latest booth counts.

The map, courtesy of Bangkok Post, shows that general voter sentiment was largely unchanged after five years of military rule with the north and north east still favoring the Pheu Thai (pro-Thaksin, pro-democracy) party, versus the rest of Thailand.

UPDATE: Election results - what it all means | News by The Thaiger

The Palang Pracharat (pro-regime) party and Pheu Thai were neck and neck all evening as the numbers rolled in from booths around the country. The two big surprises during the evening were the high polling of the new Future Forward party which clearly hit the right note with the seven million new eligible voters who exercised their democratic right for the first time. The other key aspect of the evening was the failure of the Democrats to woo their past constituency.

Thailand’s former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva said he will resign as leader of the Democrats.

State-owned television station MCOT calculated the distribution projection of all 500 lower house seats, including party list winners, also based on the election authority’s data. At 10 p.m., it forecast 146 seats would belong to the Thaksin Shinawatra-linked Pheu Thai, followed closely by the junta’s Palang Pracharat Party, at 141. MCOT expected the Future Forward Party to win 85 seats, Bhumjaithai 55 and the Democrats 36.

If MCOT’s estimate is accurate, the junta will have enough seats to make their candidate, Prayut Chan-o-cha prime minister.

The Bangkok Post reported an unofficial estimate for all 500 seats, also based on commission data. With 93% of the vote counted, Pheu Thai had the lead with 129 seats. Palang Pracharat followed with 117. Bhumjaithai was seen taking 49 seats, with the Democrats winning the same number. Future Forward was seen taking a surprising 78 seats.

BUT, the big issue that will be discussed today, is if Pheu Thai and Future Forward decide to collaborate, they could form a coalition that would come close to having a majority of lower house seats.

According to popular vote figures from the EC, Palang Pracharat garnered the most votes with 7.5 million, with Pheu Thai following at 7.3 million. But these figures do not necessarily reflect the actual makeup of the parliamentary seats to be announced some time today.

The lower house is made up of 500 members, 350 will come from single-seat districts. The remaining 150 will be distributed among parties based on how they fared nationwide.The current constitution states that the PM should be chosen by a majority of all 750 legislators, a number that includes 250 Junta-appointed senators.

An anti-junta coalition would need 376 lower house seats if its preferred candidate is to become PM.

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Counting continues today. Phalang Pracharat and Pheu Thai lead the way.

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Counting continues today. Phalang Pracharat and Pheu Thai lead the way. | The Thaiger

Pheu Thai and Phalang Pracharat were running neck-and-neck last night as ballots were counted around the country. The major parties swapped poll position as the night went on.

As of 10.30pm, with 92 per cent of the votes counted, the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat appeared to have beaten Pheu Thai with a total of 147 seats – 92 constituency MPs and 55 party-list. 

Pheu Thai came in a close second with 143 seats – 127 constituency MPs and 16 party-list – beating Phalang Pracharat in terms of constituency seats. 

Yet, when the ballot count hit 93 per cent, Pheu Thai had moved forward with 153 seats, while Phalang Pracharat ended with 142 seats. 

Results for the rest of the parties on the third to fifth place did not vary much. 

Political newbies Future Forward made major inroads, becoming the third biggest party with 85 seats – 29 for constituency MPs and 56 for party-list. Future Forward appears to have won the most party-list seats.

Bhumjaithai came in fourth with 54 seats – 43 constituency MPs and 11 from party-list. The Democrats had a dismal showing in the election and failed to make an impact on voter’s minds. Democrat leader Abhisit announced his resignation at 9.50pm.

Democrats won no seats in its stronghold of Bangkok. Of all 30 districts, 11 went to Pheu Thai, PPRP won another 10 and Future Forward won the remaining nine. Future Forward, in their first outing as a new party, were the big surprise of the evening.

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UN election monitors spread across Bangkok and beyond

The Thaiger & The Nation

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UN election monitors spread across Bangkok and beyond | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Nation

Foreign observers representing the United Nations have fanned out across the capital and its outskirts today to monitor the long-delayed election. Today’s national election, the first since 2011, is also the first since the military-backed NCPO seized power in May 2014.

Four four-member teams wearing pale-blue vests were assigned to polling stations in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani to monitor the electoral process, according to a UN official.

The EC briefed representatives of election commissions from Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, East Timor, and Vietnam at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok at 9.45am yesterday morning.

Representatives of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance also attended yesterday’s session.

EC secretary general Jarungwit Phumma told the representatives that the EC welcomed them to observe tomorrow’s election.

Jarungwit says the EC allowed the representative to monitor the election to show that the polls would be transparent, clean and fair so that the international community would have confidence in the next government.

The teams are watching for any issues that might occur as citizens freely exercise their democratic rights in today’s poll. Polls close at 5pm today around the nation and the alcohol ban extends through to 6pm tonight.

UN election monitors spread across Bangkok and beyond | News by The Thaiger

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