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Election date confirmed for February 24 next year

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Election date confirmed for February 24 next year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok – The Nation

Make it a date. February 24 is now the official date of the next Thai general election. The poll date has now been confirmed after years of delays, mis-starts and excuses.

The NCPO has now announced that the ban on political activities will be lifted next Tuesday. This allows political parties to prepare for the February 24 election after years of bans on political gatherings and activities. Although parties will now be allowed to start having meetings and nominate MPs, official campaigning is still being held off until January 2, 2019 when a Royal Decree will be made calling on the poll date.

Political parties, especially the many new ones, will then have less than two months to convince voters to vote for their constituents when they cast their ballot.

A meeting was held yesterday at the Army Club in Bangkok. All political parties were invited to attend by many boycotted the meeting, shunning the invitation of the NCPO to participate, notably the Pheu Thai, Democrat and rising Future Forward parties.

The meeting announced the revoking of nine orders which had, up until next Tuesday, prevented political activities since the May 2014 coup when the military took control and set up the NCPO to control the country in the absence of a democratically elected government.

Although the poll date was confirmed at yesterday’s meeting by Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam, the Election Commission will formally announce the poll date and new political constituencies on January 4 next year.

Wissanu said that the NCPO will stand down when the new cabinet is sworn in following the election.

Unable to resist taking a swipe at the parties who boycotted yesterday’s chat-fest at the Army Club, the Thai PM said he appreciated the cooperation of the parties that attended.

“For some parties that failed to show up, I don’t know their real reasons, or whether they want to cooperate with others,” Gen Prayut said.

COUNTDOWN TO GENERAL ELECTION

December 20: Election Commission announces regulations on MP elections;

December 28: Government stops submitting bills for deliberation by the National Legislative Assembly.

2019

January 2: Royal decree to allow election campaigning

January 4: EC to set election date January 14-18: Registration of MP candidates and prime ministerial candidates

January 25: Announcement of names of constituency and party-list candidates

February 4-16: Advance voting for Thais living abroad

February 17: Advance voting for citizens living outside home provinces

February 24: General election

April 25: Last day for EC to announce election results

May 9: Last day for new Parliament to convene first meeting.

SOURCE: Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam

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Property

“No stimulus for property sector” – Thai finance minister

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“No stimulus for property sector” – Thai finance minister | The Thaiger

The Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana told a seminar in Bangkok yesterday that the government’s stimulus packages were for the ‘grass roots economy’ and the property sector can cope on its own, without any government assistance.

He was speaking at a property seminar hosted by the Krungthep Turakit newspaper yesterday. He said that that the real estate sector could readily adjust to the Bank of Thailand’s loan-to-value (LTV) criteria on mortgage loans that took effect last April.

“The government’s latest economic stimulus packages are aimed at helping revive the grassroots economy, and that should in turn benefit to the property sector.”

The 316 billion baht stimulus package approved by the Cabinet on August 20 focuses on cash handouts for low-income earners and domestic travellers and extends soft loans to drought-afflicted farmers.

The upbeat finance minister also said that, once the US-China trade war is sorted out, the Thai economy will expand at a faster rate.

“The Thai economy continues to expand.”

“Regardless of what happens with the US-China trade talks, GDP growth will reach 3%, as forecast by the National Economic and Social Development Council.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Environment

Thai government to consider bringing forward plastics ban

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Thai government to consider bringing forward plastics ban | The Thaiger

That’s a ban on of single-use plastic bags, styrofoam (polystyrene) boxes, plastic straws and single-use plastic cups

In a surprise announcement, the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says they’re considering bringing forward, by 1-2 years, a complete ban on the use of the key plastic polluters.

Varawut Silpa-archa, the Natural Resources and Environment Minister, says the department’s proposal, approved by Cabinet in April this year, to phase out the four types of plastic products by the year 2022, was too slow and should be brought forward.

Mr. Parkpoom Witharntirawat, a leader of an environment network, says that plastic waste is now having a widespread and profound impact on the environment and the situation will get worse if Thailand waits until 2022 to introduce the ban.

“We should move faster toward a plastic free society in Thailand. Every modern shop, shopping mall or other activity must stop using and distributing so much plastic.”

Minister Varawut says that the government is cooperating with the private sector to try to reduce the amount of trash, including plastic waste, being washed into seas around Thailand by installing netting in the estuaries of several rivers to trap the trash.

“This does nothing to address the root of the problem, but it’s a short-term measure which can help mitigate the problem of plastic waste getting into the oceans.”

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Thailand

Arrival projections for Thai tourism downgraded for 2019

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Arrival projections for Thai tourism downgraded for 2019 | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has downgraded the forecast for foreign arrivals this year to a range of 39-39.8 million. This is down from the upbeat projections at the start of the year that 40.2 million tourists would arrive in the Land of Smiles.

Thai tourism for the first half of 2019 grew only 1.4%, less than expected, prompting the new Minister to admit that the target of over 40 million would not be met.

Although some netizens have characterised the slight reduction in tourist arrivals, especially in some of the traditional ‘hot spots’, and specifically in the months of April and May, to a ‘collapse’ or major reversal of fortune for Thai tourism, the numbers still show an upward trajectory for the year.

The Thailand Tourism Intelligence Centre says 23.1 million foreign tourists visited the Kingdom between January and the end of August this year, up nearly 2% compared to the same period last year. The big mover is Indian tourists, up 24% year on year.

The minister, whose proposal to provide incentive to Chinese and Indian tourists with visa-free entry, says he will continue to chat about about the “security issues” raised with related state agencies.

His proposal, rebuffed last week by foreign minister Don Pramudwinai and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, was rejected at last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. But the Cabinet did extend the current 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fee waiver to the end of April next year.

Apart from India and China, the following countries are also on the list of visa-on-arrival fee waivers – Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.

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