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Election date delay mooted

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Election date delay mooted | The Thaiger

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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Phuket

Phuket faces critical water shortages if the monsoon doesn’t arrive soon

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket faces critical water shortages if the monsoon doesn’t arrive soon | The Thaiger

Phuket is now, officially, experiencing water shortages, with water in the province’s three catchments just enough for the supply of tap water until May and the condition is expected to get worse if the annual monsoon doesn’t kick in soon. The annual south-west monsoon usually starts dragging in moist air and the ‘wet season’ sometime around Songkran each year.

Mr Kraison Mahamad, manager of the Phuket-based provincial waterworks authority (PWA), admits that tap water production would be affected if there is no heavy rain as water in Bang Naeo Dam, Klong Katha and Bang Wad would be enough for use until May at the latest, adding that his office had been told by irrigation officials to limit supply to prolong the supply of tap water to consumers on the tourist island.

As a contingency plan to ease water shortage problems, he said his office had contacted several independent suppliers for water supply, but also suggested that consumers should use water sparingly as well.

Phuket city mayor, Ms Somjai Suwansuppana, says that the municipal has been providing free water to about 18,000 households each day, with 70% of the water accessed locally and the rest bought in from private suppliers.

She said the municipal had contingency plans in place in case there are no rains next month by buying more water from water suppliers to meet consumption needs, adding that there will be sufficient water to meet the need of all the households if they use the water economically.

Ms Somjai says, for long-term measures, the municipal administration is mulling water salination projects or recycling of used water (like Singapore) which may not be acceptable now but may be unavoidable in the future if water shortage problems turns critical due to city expansion and increased population.

Mr Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of Southern Thai Hotels Association, said that hotels are hard hit by the water shortage problem and many of them have resorted to independent suppliers for water supplies to make sure there is water for guests even though the water fee is expensive at between 100-120 baht per cubic metre (The Thaiger has had reports of some people being charged up to 400 baht per cubic metre).

He admits that it is beyond the capability of hotels to secure huge raw water sources for water production, adding that the state should step in for help for sustainable tourism growth in the province.

Over the past months hundreds of residents had taken to social media complaining that their water supply had been randomly cut off or severely reduced, without notice. Some residents have had no water supply for over a month.

The PWA announced odd/even water restrictions on February 2 only to cancel them the following day on the recommendation of the Irrigation Department that there was adequate supplies of water on the island.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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North East

Questions arise over specs of collapsed wall at school in Khon Kaen that killed 4 year old girl

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Questions arise over specs of collapsed wall at school in Khon Kaen that killed 4 year old girl | The Thaiger

by Kritmet Loho

Khon Kaen’s governor Somsak Jangtrakul today led police and related officials to inspect a private school building in Tambon Ban Ped in the main city area. The building had partially collapsed during Monday’s hail and rain storm that hit the are, killing a four year old girl.

Somsak revealed that an initial investigation shows the building construction hadn’t followed the approved plan and specifications.

During yesterday’s summer storm around 4pm, three pre-school children were waiting for their parents with teachers at an open atrium in the three-storey building. A section from the top of the concrete wall suddenly fell on them from an 8 metre height, killing a 4 year old instantly and injuring two pupils and two adults, including the deceased girl’s father.

An inspection of the cordoned off area, still littered with debris from the collapse, found the building’s construction had deviated from the approved plan, said Somsak.

“The part where the concrete wall and ceiling fell down should have been a solid wall according to the plan, but was installed with glass windows,” he said citing that a team from the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Office would later conduct a detailed inspection of the building.

In order to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy, Somsak said he would also have the provincial education office suspended classes at the school, and the damaged building would be closed to any use. He would also ask the provincial education office to have all schools check the structural stability of their buildings as a safety precaution.

Thanyawalai Panna, who had obtained the licence for the school, apologised on behalf of the school for the tragedy and said she was saddened by what had happened. She said the school would take responsibility for the affected families of the deceased and the wounded.

However, she insisted that the school building’s construction was according to the original plan.

Ban Ped superintendent Pol Colonel Prawit Toha said police had initially interviewed the school executives but hadn’t yet filed any charges against anyone pending a detailed building inspection.

Police would obtain the plan from Tambon Ban Ped Municipality to compare with the school building owner’s plan to see if there were any discrepancies, he said.

Construction of the building began in 2013 and was completed the following year and opened for operations. There were 40 teachers and staff and nearly 400 students from pre-school level to Prathom 4.

Questions arise over specs of collapsed wall at school in Khon Kaen that killed 4 year old girl | News by The Thaiger Questions arise over specs of collapsed wall at school in Khon Kaen that killed 4 year old girl | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Phuket

Soldier attacked and killed by her husband over alleged affair in Rawai

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Soldier attacked and killed by her husband over alleged affair in Rawai | The Thaiger

A female soldier has been attacked and killed by her soldier husband over an alleged sexual affair in Rawai today.

The Chalong Police were notified of the incident at 8.30am this morning at a hotel on Patak Road in Rawai.

Police arrived at the room to find the 39 year old woman, Ratchadaphon Mongkonrung, a Squadron Leader with the Thai air force. She was unconscious when police arrived and rushed to to Vachira Phuket Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.

A 40 year old man from the air force (Master Sergeant), the husband of the woman, was waiting for police at the scene. He was taken to the Chalong Police Station.

Police say they checked with the hotel and found that they had been arguing as Nop-anan thought that his wife was having an affair with another man. He kicked her with his feet before calling for help.

The were married and had two children. Nop-anan is facing charges of attacking and killing another person.

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