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“The Election Commission can decide” – PM on foreign observers for election

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“The Election Commission can decide” – PM on foreign observers for election | The Thaiger

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is making it clear that the Election Commission (EC) are the sole authority to decide whether or not to allow foreign observers to monitor the election scheduled for February 24, 2019.

But, Gen Prayut insisted that Thailand must solve its own internal problems to ensure transparency and fairness in order to restore international community’s confidence in Thailand.

Asked by a reporter if there will be any problem if international organisations ask to come to observe the election, the PM had nothing to say but politely nodded.

He said the EC will need to decide whether any foreign observers will be welcome.

His comments follow yesterday’s comments from the Foreign Minister Don Paramudvinai when he reiterated that it would not be necessary for foreign observers to monitor the election.  Don said holding elections is “internal affairs of Thailand, which is capable of holding them without needing help from foreign observers”.

The minister, however, claimed he had no objection if any of the foreign embassies here wants to send its staff to observe the election, but it must notify the Election Commission in advance.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Abhisit says that allowing foreign observers to monitor the election would lend it more credibility and would help improve the government’s image.

He said that it was a common practice in several countries that foreign observers were allowed or invited to observe their polls. He said the Democrat Party has been invited to observe several elections overseas.

SOURCE: Thai PBS



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Business

Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit

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Thailand ‘slightly impacted’ from a no deal Brexit | The Thaiger

The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit from next Friday and give UK PM Theresa May time to get her deal approved in Parliament.

The PM had hoped to persuade the EU to delay the March 29 Brexit date, set in law, to June 30. But the EU country leaders have offered her two dates…

  1. A delay until May 22 if MPs approve her withdrawal deal in next week’s vote.
  2. 2. A shorter delay until April 12 if they reject it. But the UK will have to set out its next steps – another extension or leaving without a deal.

But the EU says a further extension beyond April 12 is only possible if the UK agrees to hold EU elections on May 23.

As to how British lawmakers can sort things out in a few weeks after two years of debate remains to be seen.

But economists are warning Thailand to brace for some fallout from the UK exit from the EU because it is more likely to happen than not, just a matter of when.

First of all, no-deal Brexit means the UK will no longer be a part of the EU bloc and will have to revert to World Trade Organisation rules on trade. Made-in-UK goods will be subject to EU tariffs, like that of other non-EU nations. Meanwhile, the price of the EU-made merchandises in the UK may become more expensive as they will have to bear the cost of imported tariffs as well.

According to SCB Economic Intelligence Centre, a no-deal Brexit will impact the UK economy and, consequently, affect British purchasing power overseas. British demand for Thai exports, namely automobiles and parts, and processed chicken meat may reduce.

British expats will also have to face a worsening rate of exchange with the Thai baht, lessening the power of the British pound they bring into the Kingdom for living, retirement or holidays.

Nonetheless, the overall impact on Thai exports should not be significant because the Thai outbound shipment to the UK represents only 1.5 percent of total Thai exports, according to the the think tank of Siam Commercial Bank.

Brexit may also prompt Thailand and the EU to renegotiate some trade deals such as import quota to the EU. Thailand may have to renegotiate the export quota with the EU on processed chicken, as an example. And Thailand may also have to negotiate another chicken export deal with the UK separately after the UK separation from the EU.

Auramon Supthaweethum, Director-General of Department of Trade Negotiations, said Brexit could complicate the process of Thai-EU free trade negotiation, which is scheduled to resume in the second half of this year.

“At any rate, after the Thai general election, Thailand is set to continue to negotiate with the EU on the Thai-EU free trade deal regardless of the UK decision.”

On the bright side, Brexit may prompt the UK investors to pay more attention to potential markets beyond the EU border. At present, direct investment from the UK to Thailand is small, accounting for only 3.5 percent of the total foreign direct investment, according to SCB.

Kasikorn Research Centre note that in addition to Brexit, Thai investors should take into account the consequences of the EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force last month.

The EPA could affect the exports of Thai automobile which is part of the Japanese’ supply chains. The EPA will end tariffs of auto and parts between Japan and EU by 2026.

Kasikorn Bank’s think tank says, in light of Brexit, some Japanese automakers will likely relocate some of their car production from the UK to other EU countries to maintain the EU trade privileges. Nissan and Honda have already flagged this probability.

Thus, the destinations for Thai exported automobiles and parts, which are part of the supply chains of Japanese automakers, may also change in accordance with Japanese automakers’ revised business strategy.

While the actual impacts on trade and investment remain to be seen, Brexit has been chiefly attributed to the volatility of the British pound since the referendum in 2016.

The SCB Economic Intelligence Centre say the weaker British pound could dampen the sentiment of British arrivals. They note that UK holidaymakers are among the high spenders in Thailand with 77,600 baht per trip.

“At any rate, since the receipts from British travelers represent only 2.1 percent of the total, the impact on the Thai tourism industry will be insignificant.”

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Election

Deputy PM promises ‘no coup’ after the election

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Deputy PM promises ‘no coup’ after the election | The Thaiger

Thailand’s Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan is hosing down speculation that there could be another coup after the March 24 general election if the votes don’t support the pro-military parties.

Responding to questions about his role in maintaining peace and order around this Sunday’s election, General Prawit says there is “nothing to worry about”, including the situation in the three southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

He says there are no special orders to officials in charge of security affairs.

He told reporters to ask the Ruang Palang Prachachart Thai party founder Suthep Thuagsuban about his reported threat to stage street protests if the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai party wins the election (again).

General Prawit dismissed speculation that he would act as a negotiator to help form a coalition government with the pro-military Palang Pracharat party. He also said that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had not asked him to stay on after the election.

On the eve of the election (tomorrow), most parties will hold major campaign rallies in Bangkok and in their respective political strongholds, according to Thai PBS.

It is unlikely that any single party will win a majority of the lower house seats and will need to negotiate a coalition with other parties. If no party wins a majority of lower house seats, the combined houses of parliament, which includes the military-appointed upper house, will sit to choose an ‘outsider’ prime minister which could be almost any Thai citizen.

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Chiang Rai

King awards rescuers of Mu Pa football team

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King awards rescuers of Mu Pa football team | The Thaiger

His Majesty the King has awarded 187 people, including 115 foreigners, with The Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn for the rescue of the Mu Pa football team last July.

The announcement in the Royal Gazette reads the government recognises that those people who helped those in peril performed good deeds and deserved to be honored.

They will be granted the Most Admirable Order of Direkgunabhorn.

The Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn was established by King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) on July 22, 1991 to be bestowed upon those who have rendered devotional services to the Kingdom of Thailand.

The title Direkgunabhorn (ดิเรกคุณาภรณ์) roughly translates as “Noble order of abundance and quality.”

SOURCE: NNT | Wikipedia

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