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Election 2019: Put it in your calendar – March 10

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Election 2019: Put it in your calendar – March 10 | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Protesters in Bangkok demanding the Thai Government announce election dates

Bets are on for a March 10 election date as the Prime Minister has, for the first time, admitted that the election can no longer be held on February 24. But nothing official has yet been announced.

Under the constitution, the general election must be completed within 150 days of the organic law governing the election of MPs taking effect on Dec 11, or by May 9.

But dates announced for the Royal Coronation, to be held between May 4-6, have forced officials to rethink the February 24 proposed date as post-election milestones and declarations would interfere with the Coronation if the election were to be held on February 24.

PM Prayut yesterday said the election would ‘definitely’ be held before May 9, the first time he had addressed the date issue. He is promising that Thailand will ‘head towards democracy’.

Election Commission secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma says that to prevent possible charter violations, the EC plans to hold both the election and announce the results within the 150 day time frame, or by May 9.

So let’s do a bit of Thursday morning maths…

In Thailand, elections are always held on a Sunday. Counting back from May 9 for 60 days, March 10 emerges as the election date, which is a “safe” date for the poll with minimal interference in the Coronation event.

The poll results could be endorsed by May 9. This would comply with the time frame set under the constitution.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon says the general election will take place within the 150 day time frame but didn’t specify if the period covers the full endorsement process. He says the royal decree calling the election is expected to be published soon.



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Election

Alcohol ban again this weekend around Thailand

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Alcohol ban again this weekend around Thailand | The Thaiger

The election is two days away. That means Thais go to the polls for the first time since 2011. It also means there will be another 24 hour alcohol ban on this weekend.

Alcohol sales and distribution will be forbidden again from 6pm on Saturday, March 23 until 6pm on Sunday, March 24.

Officials say weddings, parties and other celebrations can still be organised for these dates but there must be no alcohol served or consumed.

International media, seemingly horrified by the prospect, have been getting all the headlines and stories wrong.

Alcohol ban again this weekend around Thailand | News by The Thaiger

The election rule isn’t new and affects everyone, not just British tourists.

Thai officials say the ban is partly to curb previous attempts by political parties to throw ‘free booze’ parties the night before to influence voters. This weekend’s election will welcome seven million new voters who are eligible to vote in the first free election since 2011.

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Thai Life

Heavier traffic violation penalties being discussed by police

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Heavier traffic violation penalties being discussed by police | The Thaiger

Heavier penalties for drink-drivers and repeat offenders on Thai roads are under scission between traffic police and other agencies.

Maj-General Ekkarak Limsangkatt, a member of the committee reviewing of traffic-law enforcement, is calling for harsher punishments in line with the Japanese model that penalises both the drink-driver and any passenger who “abetted the wrongdoing.”

Ekkarak was speaking after a meeting at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok.

Among proposals discussed were the issuing of traffic tickets and harsher sentences for repeat offenders based on evidence gathered by Police Ticket Management over the last three years.

The PTM collates information on traffic offences and provides recommendations that enhance road safety measures.

Yesterday’s meeting was told that 11.7 million traffic tickets had been issued in 2018, a 39 per cent rise on the 8.6 million the year before.

One was a driver of a cargo truck who received no less than 144 tickets in a single year, for repeatedly speeding and failing to stay in the slow lane reserved for trucks. He was caught by traffic cameras.

A total of 1,507 drink-driving repeat offenders were arrested in the past four years, the meeting was told.

Ekkarak said the findings showed drivers were insufficiently afraid of the law and the consequences of breaking it. He said a legal amendment to the 1979 Land Traffic Act, which should soon be in effect, would introduce a points system to deter motorists from re-offending.

He said such a points system would not have worked in the past because all drivers’ licences were paper-based, meaning the police and Department of Land Transport could not cooperate to catch offenders.

“This new law will require the two agencies to link databases and online information so the driving-licence points system is implemented effectively and practically,” he said. (The Thaiger thought this had already been done!)

The meeting also heard a proposal that motorists with multiple tickets be allowed to pay them off in a lump sum for a discount, in order to clear the backlog of unpaid tickets.

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Election

Some election results out by 8pm Sunday night

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Some election results out by 8pm Sunday night | The Thaiger

More than 92,000 polling stations will be operating this Sunday for the national poll to elect a new Government. Seven million new voters, eligible since the last poll in 2011, will make a new impact on the election results making predictions more complex than in the past.

Election results will start dribbling out of smaller polling booths just an hour after voting in this Sunday’s national election.

Voting will close at 5pm on Sunday, according to the Election Commission.

The EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma says results can be expected in less than an hour from smaller polling stations, adding that unofficial results from at least 95 per cent of the polling stations should be ready by 8pm on Sunday.

These results will reveal the number of constituency seats won by each party, but figures on party-list seats will not be released until after the EC has officially endorsed the election results, Jarungvith added.

“The agency will not do the calculations to find out the number of party-list MPs on Sunday. Also, numbers may change, especially if by-elections are required or if ballots need to be recounted in some areas. We can only reveal the results once we have endorsed the votes,” he said.

A private group led by rights watchdog iLaw have launched the vote62.com website to serve as a platform for updates on election results and as a means to prevent fraud during the counting of ballots.

Those participating in ballot counting can take photographs of the counting board and post the pictures on the website, while those keeping track of the vote-count on TV or online platforms can enter tallies or upload photos on the website.

The group said the results displayed on the website will later be compared by the official results released by the EC to ensure transparency.

Meanwhile the Health Department is issuing tips advising voters to get at least six hours sleep before casting their vote.

Voters are being urged to wear light clothes because the temperature on Sunday is expected to rise up to 40C in central and northern parts of the country and up to 35 or 36 in southern areas.

SOURCE: The Nation

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