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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Election prelims show no change – Pheu Thai stays; Shots both ways at Lak Si; Yingluck legal battle begins

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Pheu Thai stands to win about 300 seats: source
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Pheu Thai Party is expected to win at least 300 MP seats even though each candidate has won fewer votes than in the past, a party source, who asked to be named, said.

The source added that Sompong Amornvivat, director of the party’s election centre, had said in a meeting that judging from an evaluation of the vote results, Pheu Thai should get about 240 constituency MP seats and about 60 party-list ones. However, the vote results released so far show that more voters opted for “no vote”, making many of the party’s winning candidates get just over 20,000 votes per constituency versus the more than 40,000 votes they have done previously.

Most provinces see voter turnout fall from 2011 election
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Sunday’s election saw an exceptionally low voter turnout in many provinces, with the number of eligible voters who cast their ballots declining from the previous poll of 2011.

In just 34 provinces – fewer than half of all 77 provinces and most of them in the North and Northeast – the turnout was 50 per cent and over.

Nationwide the turnout was 45.8 per cent, compared to 75 per cent in 2011. Bangkok had a turnout of only 26.1 per cent, compared to 71.6 per cent in the previous poll, according to figures released by Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong yesterday.

Other provinces with unusually low turnout included Prachuap Khiri Khan (14.3 per cent), Samut Songkhram (24.4), Kanchanaburi (25), Rayong (26.1), and Chon Buri (28.2).

Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South had a turnout of only 0.1 per cent, as voting could be held only in a small fraction of polling stations.

Many provinces had a turnout of between 30 and 40 per cent.

Most saw a decline in voters when compared with the 2011 election, even in the northern province of Lamphun, which had the highest turnout of 72.8 per cent on Sunday, slightly lower than two years ago.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra wants new voting to be held in constituencies and provinces where the election was disrupted on Sunday, a source said yesterday. The goal was to meet the minimum number of seats in the House of Representatives required to elect a new prime minister and function legally as soon as possible, the source said.

Voting could not take place in nine southern provinces of Krabi, Chumphon, Trang, Phang Nga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Ranong, Songkhla and Surat Thani, and three constituencies in Bangkok.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party remained confident yesterday that Sunday’s election would not be declared void.

Kanin Boonsuwan, a legal expert of the party, criticised the opposition Democrat Party for petitioning the Ombudsman’s Office for a ruling by the Constitutional Court on whether the election was void as voting could not be completed in one day, as required by law.

He said the Democrats were not the “damaged party” in this case. And he blamed the protests and the EC’s alleged lack of efficiency for the problems involving the election.

The Democrats today will petition the Constitutional Court against the government for holding the election unconstitutionally, according to party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. He said the PM went ahead with the poll despite legal problems and repeated warnings by the EC.

In a related development, the other election commissioners yesterday turned down Somchai Srisuthiyakorn’s offer to step down from his position in charge of holding elections. Somchai said he would comply with the EC’s resolution and continue performing his duty.

He had offered to resign as a way of showing responsibility for problems involving Sunday’s election.

Govt’s legal woes intensify
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The opposition Democrat Party will today bring to the Constitutional Court the first legal case against the government regarding Sunday’s election.

This will be the latest in a host of problems facing the government of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The PM is being investigated by the Election Commission (EC) for alleged abuse of authority in recent poll campaigning, and by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged dereliction of duty involving the rice-pledging scheme.

EC member Boonsong Noiso-pon said yesterday the agency was looking into accusations that the prime minister abused her power by having many senior public officials join her recent provincial trips in the run-up to the election.

He said the EC was also investigating a complaint against the PM and Cabinet members accusing them of issuing the amnesty bill unlawfully. The case would be referred to Parliament to decide whether it should be filed with the charter court for impeachment.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the party would today lodge a petition with the Constitu-tional Court against the government for holding the poll unconstitutionally. The government violated Article 68, he said. This article prohibits people from exercising a right with the aim of overthrowing the democratic system, or of acquiring power to rule the country by any means not in accordance with the Constitution.

Abhisit said there were many legal problems with the election and Yingluck had decided to go ahead with it, though she was warned by the EC of the problems.

The Democrat Party would also ask the anti-graft body to file criminal charges against Yingluck and Cabinet members, Abhisit said.

Democrat Party legal expert Wiratana Kalayasiri said they would ask the Constitutional Court to order the dissolution of Pheu Thai Party, disqualify its executives and ban 18 Cabinet members who are Pheu Thai MP candidates.

Sunday’s election saw a very low voter turnout in many provinces, with the number of eligible voters who cast their ballots declining from the previous poll of 2011.

In just 34 provinces – less than half of all 77 provinces and most of them in the North and Northeast – the turnout was 50 per cent or over. Nationwide the turnout was 45.8 per cent, compared to 75 per cent in 2011. Bangkok had a turnout of only 26 per cent, compared to 71.6 per cent in the previous poll, according to EC figures.

Other provinces with unusually low turnout included Prachuap Khiri Khan (14 per cent), Samut Songkhram (24), Kanchanaburi (25), Rayong (26), and Chon Buri (28). Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South had a turnout of only 0.1 per cent, as voting could be held only in a fraction of polling stations.

Yingluck wants new voting to be held in constituencies and provinces where the election was disrupted on Sunday, a source said. The goal was to meet the minimum number of seats in the House required to elect a new premier and function as soon as possible.

Separately, the other election commissioners yesterday turned down Somchai Srisuthiyakorn’s offer to step down from his position in charge of holding elections. Somchai said he would comply with the EC’s resolution and continue performing his duty.

Pheu Thai might have misunderstood EC rules: Somchai
— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Myanmar

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Htar Htet Htet

A former pageant queen Htar Htet Htet has been vocal about her opposition to the military takeover in her home country, Myanmar. But recently, she took her stance even farther by posting a photo of herself in a black combat outfit with an assault rifle, showing support for the ethnic armies fighting against the state military.

The Myanmar military took over the civilian government in February, ousting the state counsellor who had won the election in a landslide. Since then around 750 people have been killed by security forces.

Ethnic armies that occupy border regions have opposed the military takeover, including the prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union. Recently, Karen troops attacked and took over a state military outpost near the Thai border. Around 2,000 people have fled to Thailand to escape the violence.

The 32 year old, who represented Mynamar in the 2013 Miss Grand International pageant in Thailand, wrote on Facebook saying “the time has come to fight back.”

“Whether you hold a weapon, pen, keyboard or donate money to the pro-democracy movement, everyone must do their bit for the revolution to succeed.

I will fight back as much as I can. I am ready and prepared to give up everything. I am even ready to pay with my life.”

Former pageant queen in Myanmar sides with ethnic armies opposing military coup | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Bangkok

More than 2,000 inmates in Bangkok test positive for Covid-19

Tanutam Thawan

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Bangkok Remand Prison / Google

More than 2,000 inmates at the Bangkok Remand Prison and at the Women’s Correctional Institution have tested positive for Covid-19. The announcement from the Department of Corrections follows the recent news that a protest leader tested positive for Covid-19 after spending 8 weeks in jail awaiting trial for lese majeste charges.

Pro-democracy activist Panusya “Rung” Sithijirawattanaku made a post on Facebook saying she tested positive for Covid-19. She had been held in the Women’s Correctional Institution for 59 days and was released on bail on May 6.

The Department of Corrections says 2,835 inmates have tested positive for the virus including 1,795 at Bangkok Remand Prison, making up more than half the prison population. A source told the Bangkok Post there is a total of 3,238 inmates at the prison.

The other 1,040 infections are inmates at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. The prison has a population of 4,518 inmates.

Those with severe symptoms are admitted to hospitals outside the prison while the other infected inmates are being treated at field hospitals set up at the prisons or at the Corrections Hospital, according to Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan.

“The Corrections Department has ordered all correctional facilities to set up an area for quarantine and a field hospital, with doctors and nurses on duty to provide treatment for the infected inmates… We also plan to inoculate all detainees. We are only waiting for an allocation of vaccines from relevant agencies.”

Aryut says those at high risk of infection are now in quarantine. New inmates are in quarantine for 21 days and must test negative for Covid-19 twice before being released to the general prison population.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways decision, Covid Update, farmer hit by lightning | May 12

Tanutam Thawan

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34 Covid-related deaths reported today, today is a big day in the long-running Thai Airways saga, with 13,000 creditors voting on whether or not to accept the struggling airline’s rehabilitation plan, An unfortunate farmer has been struck and killed by lightning in his rice field in the Phon Sawan district of Nakhon Phanom, British activist Andy Hall has been finally cleared of the last pending charge and anti-government protest leader has finally been granted bail after 10 requests

 

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