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100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’

Caitlin Ashworth

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100,000 iLaw bill signatures to be verified, official tells staff to ‘hurry up’ | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today
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The parliament president says he told staff to “hurry up” the process for verifying more than 100,000 signatures supporting a new constitution amendment bill proposed by a nonprofit organisation and backed by pro-democracy activists. Activists hope the process speeds up so the bill can be scheduled on the agenda for the next parliamentary session.

The draft, proposed by Internet Law Reform Dialogue, or iLaw, was sent to parliament last week along with signatures from more than 100,000 supporters. Parliament president Chuan Leekpai says staff are working on getting all of the signatures verified and even asked staff to “hurry up.” He says they have 45 days to verify the signatures. 50,000 valid signatures are required to have the draft considered by parliament.

The activists have been demanding a rewrite of the 2017 constitution for months.One of the proposed changes would require senators and local administrators. Currently, Thailand’s Senate is hand-picked by the ruling party.

Those opposing changes to the constitution also spoke up last week. A Thai Pakdee royalist group filed a petition with 130,000 signatures saying they are against changes.

Verifying the names is a lengthy process and Chuan doesn’t know exactly how long it will take. Half of the names on the iLaw bill have received initial verification, according to parliament advisor Sukit Atthopakorn.

After initial verification, the approved names are then forwarded to the Department of Provincial Administration to make sure they are eligible voters. The last step would calling each person to confirm they signed their name in support of the bill.

6 other amendment bills introduced by other political parties are already being discussed and a committee has been step up to review the bills, according to Democrat Party spokesperson Rames Ratanachaweng. He says those discussions won’t affect the iLaw bill.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Nation Thailand

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Bangkok

Parliament to discuss political protests in 2 day special session

Caitlin Ashworth

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Parliament to discuss political protests in 2 day special session | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Esan Unity

The Thai Parliament is now holding a 2 day ’emergency’ parliamentary session to discuss the ongoing pro-democracy protests. House Speaker Chuan Leekpai says he wants MPs and senators to work together to find a solution, but some commentators say it will just cause more conflict between parties. Even amongst the government coalition there are some 20 different political parties that have differing attitudes towards the current demands of the protesters.

The joint House-Senate session will be a general debate and discussion which started at 9.30am and is scheduled to go up to 10pm. No votes on motions will take place during the meetings, today or tomorrow. The special session was scheduled in response to the political protests that have been taken place almost daily since October 14. The current batch of protests kicked off back in July, but have been growing in participants and frequency ever since.

Protesters have calling on government reform, a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution, and pushing for PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign.

The protesters have also addressed sensitive topics during their demonstrations regarding the Thai Monarchy, with some statements that could lead to arrest. Under Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law, insults and criticism about the Monarchy are prohibited. The politicians will not touch on the sensitive issues, according to chief government whip Wirat Ratanset. He added that MPs are mature enough to do their job constructively without breaking the law.

“However, if any of them are careless when they speak about those sensitive issues during the session, they will be doing so at their own risk and must take responsibility as they will not be afforded the protection of parliamentary immunity”, (without explaining why). Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Jantararuangtong said party MPs will watch what they say, careful not to bring up issues about the Monarchy during the debate.

The House speaker says that some MPs have disagreed with holding a special session, saying it could cause an argument between the politicians that would do more harm than good.

“I told the MPs they must try to prevent that by cooperating and presenting useful ideas. This is not a censure debate.”

The deputy leader of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, Cholnan Srikaew also said he does not think the debate will not help move things forward.

“The motion is like an attempt to whitewash (the government’s actions). Of the total 23 hours of debate, the opposition parties get only 8 hours while cabinet ministers are given 5 hours, the Senate gets 5 hours, and parties of the coalition camp get 5 hours. This means 15 hours versus 8 hours.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

Protest locations announced for today and tomorrow, PM says he “won’t quit”

The Thaiger

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Protest locations announced for today and tomorrow, PM says he “won’t quit” | The Thaiger

10pm came and went. Last night’s deadline had been set for the Thai PM to resign. It was never likely to happen, and it didn’t. Protesters yesterday promised that, if the prime minister didn’t stand down, the protests would resume again. 2 protests have now been announced in central Bangkok for today and tomorrow.

PM Prayut was attending Buddhist prayers at Wat Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok. When asked about his response, the 66 year old merely responded “won’t quit”.

“I urge everyone to conciliate and help solve problems together.”

Now protesters say that rallies will resume today and tomorrow.

The Dao Din group, one of many smaller factions that are all operating under the broader Khana Ratsadon 2563 student-led protest movement, including the Free Youth movement, has announced that a rally will be held at Ratchaprasong intersection at 4pm today.

There has also been a gathering announced for a rally at the Sam Yan intersection at 5pm on Monday where protesters will then march to the German Embassy, about 1.5 kilometres away on Sathorn Road, a clear reference to HM the King’s favoured overseas domicile.

Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, who was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday. called on protesters to assemble at Ratchaprasong today.

The telegraphing of the 2 events will likely spur police to secure the busy intersections. But, in the past, the protesters have been able to switch venues at the last minute using social media and encrypted message apps to stay one step ahead of the security and police forces.

Tomorrow the 2 houses of the Thai Parliament will meet for 2 day emergency session called on by the speaker of the lower house Chuan Leekpai. Lower house elected MPs will be in session with the hand-picked NCPO-appointed senate. Opposition MPs have voiced concern that there will be no votes following the 2 days of debate and have accused the government of using the emergency session to stall true reform. Votes from the government’s fragile lower house coalition plus the votes from the senate will be able to put down any motions during the session.

Protest locations announced for today and tomorrow, PM says he

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Protests

3 protesters denied bail as 10pm deadline for the PM’s resignation looms

The Thaiger

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3 protesters denied bail as 10pm deadline for the PM’s resignation looms | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The arrest of protester Panupong Jardnok, aka. Mike Rayong - Thai PBS World

Whilst 1 protester was freed from the Bangkok Remand Prison last night, 3 of his peers remain in custody after being denied bail this afternoon. Supporters of the group protested last night outside the Bangkok Special Remand Centre, demanding their release and dropping of all charges against them. They disbanded around 5am this morning but have been re-assembling as Saturday goes by.

Chatupat Boonpatthararaksa, aka. Pai Daodin, was released from the Bangkok Remand Prison last evening after a hearing by the Appeals Court. Protesters were waiting outside demanding the release of 3 other key protest leaders, still being held at the prison – Parit Chivarak, Panasaya Sitthijirawattanakul and Panupong Jardnok, aka. Mike Rayong. Panasaya was the university student who first read out the now-infamous 10 point manifesto listing the protesters persistent list of demands.

The group of protesters continues to call on the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to resign by 10pm this evening. They have not clarified what may be the consequences if their demands are not met.

The 3 protest leaders were deemed by the Court of Appeals as “potential flight risks” as well as likely to break conditions of their bail, eg. participating in, and organising, more anti-government rallies. Charges for the 3 include using a sound amplifier without a permit, assembly of more than 5 people (during the State of Emergency), posting social media deemed to be a threat to national security, and sedition.

As the 10pm deadline passes this evening, earlier being set as Sunday night at 10pm, the situation will be ripe for more protests as we head into the new week. Parliament has been called to a joint emergency parliamentary session on Monday and Tuesday where the protesters demands will be discussed and debated.

Opposition MPs are demanding that motions can be put to a vote whilst the ruling coalition has stated that it does want any votes on debate matters. The opposition is also calling on debate of the most contentious issue, the future role of the Thai monarchy, whilst the government has ruled that out in this emergency session.

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