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Election date delay mooted

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Dates for the forthcoming election, earmarked for February 2019 for the last year, are now in flux again following yesterday’s meeting between potential future political players and the NCPO.

The election is likely to take place some time between February 24 and May 5 next year, this from the Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam at yesterday’s meeting. It is the first time that any government official has clearly declared any dates for the poll.

There is a “strong possibility” that the election will take place in February, Wissanu said, given PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s recent promise to his UK counterpart Theresa May.

The dates were proposed by the Election Commission (EC) yesterday at the first meeting of relevant parties in preparation for the poll.

The meeting was held at the Army Club by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and was attended by government figures, EC officials, Constitution Drafting Commission members and political party representatives.

The forum discussed the preparation for the upcoming election, including lifting the NCPO’s ban on political activities. Wissanu, who is in charge of the government’s legal affairs, said the ban could be partially lifted from September to December after the bills on Senate and MP elections have been published in the Royal Gazette.

After the promulgation, the MP election bill leaves a gap of 90 days before it comes into effect. The EC could use that time to draw up the electoral constituencies and political parties would be able to freely assemble to deal with primary votes and select party executives as the ban would be partially lifted, Wissanu explained.

The ban on the assembly of five or more people would remain in place, he said, and would only be lifted after the NCPO has decided to nullify the previous orders that imposed the restriction.

All the proposals floated in the forum yesterday would be reported to the NCPO who had the absolute power to make any decision, Wissanu stressed, adding that only after the next meeting attended by PM Prayut would the confirmed scheduled be announced.

Wissanu also said five factors were influential on the road map to democracy: peace and order during the coronation, the promulgation of the election bills, the local administrative election, the change of the EC and general peace and order in society.

Earlier, Wissanu had said he did not expect yesterday’s first meeting to see “complete success”.

“I don’t know if this first meeting will be a success. We don’t expect complete success anyway,” he said.
The election bills have already been submitted for royal endorsement but it could take up to 90 days – or until September – before they are promulgated.

Election date delay mooted | News by The Thaiger

The forum yesterday lasted two and a half hours and was attended by 198 politicians from 73 parties.

While the oldest, the Democrat Party, sent deputy leader Julin Laksanawisit to take part, notable by their absence were Pheu Thai and the new Future Forward parties.

Pheu Thai had said that the NCPO lacked the legitimacy to hold talks. Future Forward added that the meeting had not been transparent as the NCPO had not allowed any type of live broadcast. Participants were asked to leave their cellphones outside the meeting room. The NCPO strictly prohibited any recordings or live broadcast.

One participant, Varawut Silapa-archa, a key figure from the Chart Thai Pattana Party, said he was satisfied with the NCPO’s promise to ease the political restrictions and allow parties to prepare for the next election.

“The party is well prepared for the election, whether it is held sooner or later. We have no problem,” he said.

He expected the NCPO to soon make it clear how it intends overcoming the legal obstacles restricting parties from operating at the moment.

Election date delay mooted | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation

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Thailand

Isaan woman finds her husband and 2 sons dead in well

Caitlin Ashworth

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Isaan woman finds her husband and 2 sons dead in well | The Thaiger
PHOTO: เกาะกระแส OAIC

A woman found the bodies of her husband and 2 sons in the bottom of a well in the Isaan province Chaiyaphum. The father and his sons reportedly went to repair the family farm’s well, but did not return.

56 year old Thong-in says her husband and sons went to repair the well in the morning. They didn’t come back for lunch. When she went to check on them, she found them dead in the well.

Rescuers suspect the father, 56 year old Boonterm Buathong, and his 2 sons, 29 year old Chareonchat and 26 year old Preecha, drowned to death. The well is about a metre wide and 13 metre deep. Rescuers wore breathing apparatuses to dive to the bottom of the well to get the bodies.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand News Today | Protesters face arrest | Phuket “in a coma”| September 22

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Thailand News Today | Protesters face arrest | Phuket “in a coma”| September 22 | The Thaiger

Thailand News Today with Tim Newton. Daily news from around Thailand.

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’.

The GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. The bank’s chairman says the proposal will be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month.

Protest leaders face charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law and for installing the plaque

Leaders of the weekend’s pro-democracy protest in Bangkok are facing charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and for installing a symbolic plaque at a “registered historical site”. Police filed complaints to between 10 to 16 protesters.

It’s unclear how many protesters will be charged, but a Royal Thai Police spokesperson says charges will be pressed against those who “pulled the strings.” Under Thailand’s lèse majesté law, it is illegal to insult or defame the Thai Monarch or royal family. Police say they will take the strongest legal actions possible against those who undermined the Monarchy, although earlier this year the Thai PM said that His Majesty had requested that such charges not be brought against Thai citizens.

Charges are also being brought against the protesters who installed a commemorative plaque in the forecourt of Sanam Luang, next to the Grand Palace. The Fine Arts Department and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have filed complaints with police over the installation of the plaque, saying the protesters broke the law by causing damage to an archaeological site.

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. The governor highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, cutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money coming into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that could attract more visitors to the province.

Sri Panwa Phuket getting social media flak after owner criticises pro-democracy protest leader

Meanwhile, the owner of the Sri Panwa Phuket resort is facing a social media storm after condemning the current pro-democracy movement and one of its main organisers. Taking to Instagram, Vorasit Issara, owner of the five-star Sri Panwa Phuket Resort, singles out the female protest leader saying “she should be in prison”.

“This bullshit has got to stop. She is not Thai. Who is she working for?

Sharing a photo of Panusaya, he adds, “arrest this child.” Vorasit incorrectly asserted that Panusaya wasn’t Thai. In fact she was born in 1998 in Nonthaburi and IS a Thai citizen.

His post has since gone viral, prompting outrage from those who support the anti-government movement. A hashtag calling for a boycott of his Sri Panwa Phuket resort has taken off on Twitter, at a time when almost all hotels are battling for survival, especially on Phuket.

Myanmar’s Covid-19 spike causes mass lockdowns as Thai authorities scramble to seal the border

Myanmar is currently suffering a wave of Covid-19, causing concern in Thailand as its western border authorities bump up security measures and patrols.

Burmese authorities have been introducing increasingly draconian restrictions to control the sudden spread of the virus over the past 4 weeks. Whilst the case load is still relatively small, the concerns are focussing on the porous western borders of Myanmar onto adjacent Bangladesh and India, as well as the spike in cases in the largest city Yangon.

Yangon is now under a very tight lockdown as the city is quickly turning into the country’s hotspot of Covid-19.

There were 610 and 6 new deaths in the past 24 hours. Yesterday 671 new cases of Covid-10 were reported

Indonesia’s economy shrinks for the first time in 22 years

Indonesia’s economy will contract for the first time since the Asian financial crisis in 1997/1998.

Gross domestic product is forecast to decline over 1% this year according to the country’s Finance Minister. He said…

Southeast Asia’s largest economy is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic as the number of new cases each day continues to set records. The worsening outbreak prompted the renewal of social-distancing curbs in Jakarta, measures that had battered growth in the second quarter this year.

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Thailand

PM orders Thai police to collaborate with Interpol to bring Boss back to Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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PM orders Thai police to collaborate with Interpol to bring Boss back to Thailand | The Thaiger
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The Thai PM is ordering Thai police to work with Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organisation, to find Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya and bring him back to Thailand for prosecution. The Red Bull heir has been on the run since 2017 and faces charges reckless driving causing death and using cocaine, charges which date back to the incident in 2012 in Bangkok.

In 2012, Boss allegedly sped his Ferrari down Sukhumvit Road in Thong Lor, running over and dragging a 47 year old police officer 100 metres down the road, killing him.

Prosecutors have now officially indicted Boss on the reckless driving causing death and drugs charges, the Office of the Attorney General announced last Friday. The recent indictment, more than 8 years after the fatal crash, follows public backlash after Boss’s cases were dropped altogether in July by the deputy attorney general.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha made a post on his Facebook page saying he ordered police to work with international authorities to find Boss and bring him back to Thailand for trial. He says a Red Notice has been issued and he expects an update by next week.

“I ask every officer to handle this matter correctly and effectively.”

Boss, the son of the co-owner of the Red Bull energy drink empire, fled the country in 2017. His hearings were delayed 7 times. He reportedly packed up and fled to Singapore on his family’s private jet just 2 days before he was due to face charges. Since then, Boss has been seen and photographed at his family home in London as well as at Red Bull events.

The story has caused ongoing rage in Thai social media with people using the cases as proof Thailand’s warped justice system where wealth and power can help you bypass official investigations.

There has been no comment from the Yoovidhya family, Boss or his legal representation since last week’s official prosecution.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Thai PBS

ตามที่สำนักงานอัยการสูงสุดเห็นชอบสั่งฟ้อง “บอส” นายวรยุทธ อยู่วิทยา…

Posted by ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday, September 21, 2020

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