Connect with us

Election

Will it be same same but different after this Sunday’s vote?

Tim Newton

Published

on

Will it be same same but different after this Sunday’s vote? | The Thaiger

Thailand’s military junta, which has ruled the Land of Smiles since snatching control in a coup in 2014, is now trying to bring its leader, Prayut Chan-o-cha, back as an ‘elected’ PM in next week’s election.

The NCPO has cobbled together an ambitious economic plan that’s rests on a 1.7 trillion baht (US$54 billion) spending spree to revive competitiveness in an economy that remains hamstrung by depressed business confidence and investment.

High speed rail links, an expanded economic corridor to the east of the capital, spending on airports and new infrastructure in the capital  – these are a few of the Junta’s favourite things.

Economic growth is lagging its peers in the region, productivity has weakened and companies are reluctant to invest whilst the elephant remains in the room – political uncertainty and a whiff of military tampering.

The return of democracy this Sunday has its own risks. When the official results are eventually announced, perhaps weeks following the poll, there will be some sort of transition from military rule to civilian rule. If the Palang Pracharath party – pro-military and pro-Prayut – is able to convince voters to keep marching along, then the transition will be relatively simple.

If, however, and more likely, that a coalition of pro-democracy parties is able to form a majority in the country’s lower house of Parliament, the transition may become ‘messy’.

The new government will crow loudly that they have a mandate to unravel some of the long-term economic plans, and even the constitution, that was put in place by the NCPO during their half decade in power.

But the military-appointed upper house of review, the National Legislative Assembly, will likely quash any changes to the military’s ‘vision’.

And on we will go – more political uncertainty, more unrest, and potentially, more protests in the future.

Groundhog Day.

Thailand’s establishment elites, principally based around Bangkok and parts of the south, have dueled for power with the populist alliances of former premier (and now fugitive) Thaksin Shinawatra for over a decade, a fault line that could bring gridlock to the next parliament.

Thaksin and his proxy parties have prevailed in each election since 2001, only to be unseated by the military or the courts each time, most recently in 2014 when the Yingluck Shinawatra government was kicked out of office.

The ongoing instability weighs heavily on Thailand’s competitiveness and investment allure.

Thailand hasplunged 10 places on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index in the past 11 years, the biggest drop among South East Asia’s top economies – to rank 38 out of 140 countries in 2018.

The index measures everything from the openness of the economy and quality of infrastructure to the strength of institutions and innovation.

But Prayut has cut red tape, making Thailand one of the 10 most improved nations in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 rankings as it vies with neighbours such as Vietnam for investment.

Now it’s the Thai voters who take the next step in this achingly slow politically drama that casts a long shadow over the future of Thailand.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now CEO and writer for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He presented for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and provides stories for Feature Story News as the south east Asian correspondent.

Bangkok

New Economics Party clarifies their support for pro-democracy coalition

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

New Economics Party clarifies their support for pro-democracy coalition | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Mingkwan Sangsuwan, New Economics Party leader – The Nation

Leader of the New Economics Party Mingkwan Sangsuwan hasy reiterated his party’s intention to join with the pro-democracy coalition (Pheu Thai, Future Forward) and against the pro-junta party, Phalang Pracharat.

Amid uncertainty over which camp New Economics would work with after the election, Mingkwan has clarified he would not join with Phalang Pracharat because of “ideological differences”.

Six New Economics candidates were elected in the March 24 poll. Mingkwan gave assurances at today’s press conference that none of the new MPs would defect. The party’s deputy leader, Supadit Argadriks, also repeated the party’s intent to help uphold democracy with a constitutional monarchy, and live up to its pledge to voters.

Some of the party’s members yesterday petitioned the Election Commission to dissolve the party, alleging it had fallen under outside influences related to powerful business interests. But the deputy leader insisted today that the party was united. He said the complaint had stemmed from a misunderstanding.

Supadit said legal action would be taken against the plaintiffs who filed the petition with the EC.

SOURCE: The Nation

Continue Reading

Bangkok

Junta warned to be careful targeting rivals with petty litigation

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Junta warned to be careful targeting rivals with petty litigation | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Piyabutr Sangkanokkul reports to police yesterday using the, now popular, anti-government three-finger salute – The Nation

by Kai Chanwanpen

While members of pro-democracy parties continue to be targeted with politically-motivated lawsuits, a political scientist is warning this tactic of eliminating political rivals through trivial matters of law could backfire and lead to a legitimacy crisis down the track.

In the latest case, the Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Sangkanokkul yesterday acknowledged the charges pressed against him by the ruling NCPO, whose chief is a prime ministerial candidate after the March 24 election.

“Seeking advantage over rivals is common in politics. But this cannot be without consequences. They could face questions of legitimacy even if they successfully conspire to attain their goal,” said Attasit Pankaew, a political expert from Thammasat University.

“All the unfairness that can be seen right now will lead people to question if Piyabutr would have been hit with a lawsuit if he were not so popular in the election.”

The pro- and anti-junta blocs have been going after each other since the election with politically motivated, and mostly relatively petty, lawsuits.

But when the court was petitioned to seek the disqualification of junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha as a prime ministerial candidate because he was a public servant, the ruling went in favour of the incumbent.

While these kinds of political challenges are common around the world, Attasit said that public sentiment could play a major role in making any change.

“It’s how the public responds to the treatment that could improve this culture,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the authority has to provide an explanation and ensure that the due process of law is followed without victimising political rivals.”

Piyabutr has been charged with contempt of court and breaching the computer crime law for reading out a statement in relation to the dissolution of Thai Raksa Chart Party in February.

Piyabutr, a former law lecturer at Thammasat University, yesterday denied the charges. He insisted on his innocence, saying as a law scholar the criticism was meant as an academic comment and that he believed in the justice system.

“The chief of the NCPO is the PM candidate of a political party, which was a rival of Future Forward Party in the election and he has assigned an official to prosecute me for contempt of court,” he said.

“Let me make an observation: the judicial branch is a part of the sovereign state and cannot escape criticism, especially the Constitutional Court which rules on political conflicts and whose judgement is likely to be scrutinised,” Piyabutr told reporters.

“Disagreement with a court judgement is not a crime.”

SOURCE: The Nation

Continue Reading

Election

Pro-democracy coalition remains positive following weekend glitch

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Pro-democracy coalition remains positive following weekend glitch | The Thaiger

by Kai Chanwanpen

The see-saw continues as the anti and pro-junta groups continue to tussle to form a coalition government. Meanwhile the Election Commission (EC) is no closer to announcing the allocation of Lower House seats… three weeks after the vote! They maintain that May 9 is the day they will announce the results although this deadline has been muddied by the EC’s own announcement that they seek clarification from the Constitutional Court over the allocation of votes to lower house seats.

Following a war of words over the weekend amid rumours that the minor New Economics Party had been won over by Phalang Pracharat (who support the return of General Prayut Chan-o-cha as premier), Pheu Thai Party leaders were quick to reiterate that the six-MP party remained firmly with the pro-democracy camp.

Pheu Thai’s de facto leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan posted on Facebook over the weekend that she believed New Economics leader Mingkwan Sangsuwan would not break his word to voters that he would not side with the junta.

Her colleague, party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai, delivered a similar message via Facebook, stressing he believed Mingkwan was a man of his word.

“I never believed the rumours that Phalang Pracharat is forming a coalition with support from parties that campaigned against the junta. I never did,” he wrote.

News was swirling on Saturday that Phalang Pracharat had managed to gather over 250 MPs to set up a coalition government with the help of the New Economics Party, which had defected from the pro-democracy front.

Mingkwan issued a statement in the evening dismissing the news, saying he had never entered into any political negotiations with Phalang Pracharat.

Though Mingkwan had said on several occasions before and after the election that he was opposed to a military-led regime and would join the pro-democracy camp, public distrust grew after the New Economics Party failed to turn up at the democratic front’s press conference, held to claim victory and to sign a pact to collaborate in opposing the junta.

Though the election results are yet to be confirmed by the poll agency, it is estimated that the pro-democracy league led by Pheu Thai and Future Forward has 247 to 255 seats – placing it in a grey area to claim legitimacy to form a government.

Hence, the camp’s coalition must rely on MPs from smaller parties such as New Economics. Though New Economics may have only six MPs, its decision could make or break the Pheu Thai-led coalition.

There are other grey areas too: parties such as Democrat and Bhumjaithai, which have won over 30 and 50 seats respectively, have yet to commit to either side.

It might be unthinkable for the Democrats to join hands with old foes Pheu Thai but this does not necessarily mean it would side with Phalang Pracharat to support a Prayut-led government. The country’s oldest and most established party is now divided into two factions: one backs support for Prayut to deter Pheu Thai while the other group wants the party to sit in opposition. The Democrats could remain on the backbenches as an independent voice in the new Parliament.

Bhumjaithai, meanwhile, remains non-committal while also being pressured by the Pheu Thai coalition interests.

SOURCE: The Nation

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
ตรวจหวย ตรวจสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวด วันที่ 16 เมษายน 2562 | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย20 hours ago

ตรวจหวย ตรวจสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล งวด วันที่ 16 เมษายน 2562

[Live] มิ่งขวัญ แสงสุวรรณ์ แถลงข้อเท็จจริง กรณี ส.ส. พรรคเศรษฐกิจใหม่ยื่นยุบพรรคตัวเอง : เลือกตั้ง 2562 | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 6220 hours ago

[Live] มิ่งขวัญ แสงสุวรรณ์ แถลงข้อเท็จจริง กรณี ส.ส. พรรคเศรษฐกิจใหม่ยื่นยุบพรรคตัวเอง : เลือกตั้ง 2562

คดีพลิก! คลิปแดดลำปางร้อนทอดไข่ดาวสุก หนุ่มถ่ายคลิปรับใส่น้ำมันตั้งเตาก่อน | The Thaiger
ข่าว22 hours ago

คดีพลิก! คลิปแดดลำปางร้อนทอดไข่ดาวสุก หนุ่มถ่ายคลิปรับใส่น้ำมันตั้งเตาก่อน

ตัวอย่าง Game of Thrones Season 8  ตอนที่ 2 | The Thaiger
ตัวอย่าง2 days ago

ตัวอย่าง Game of Thrones Season 8 ตอนที่ 2

K-POP : BTS พาอัลบั้มใหม่ฉายแสงทั่วโลก พร้อมทุบสถิติใหม่รัว ๆ | The Thaiger
BTS3 days ago

K-POP : BTS พาอัลบั้มใหม่ฉายแสงทั่วโลก พร้อมทุบสถิติใหม่รัว ๆ

แก๊งวัยรุ่นตีกันงานสงกรานต์ พาพวกตะลุมบอนต่อหน้าห้องฉุกเฉินโรงพยาบาล | The Thaiger
ข่าว4 days ago

แก๊งวัยรุ่นตีกันงานสงกรานต์ พาพวกตะลุมบอนต่อหน้าห้องฉุกเฉินโรงพยาบาล

สงกรานต์หรือสงคราม ถือพร้าคว้ามีดจะอาบเลือดแทนน้ำ [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ข่าว4 days ago

สงกรานต์หรือสงคราม ถือพร้าคว้ามีดจะอาบเลือดแทนน้ำ [คลิป]

ไฟไหม้ “วิหารนอเทรอดาม” อายุ 850 ยอดหักพังถล่ม กรุงปารีส ฝรั่งเศส | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ4 days ago

ไฟไหม้ “วิหารนอเทรอดาม” อายุ 850 ยอดหักพังถล่ม กรุงปารีส ฝรั่งเศส

ฉายแล้ววันนี้ Game of Thrones ซีซั่น 8 ep.01 | The Thaiger
ฉายแล้ว5 days ago

ฉายแล้ววันนี้ Game of Thrones ซีซั่น 8 ep.01

สงกรานต์ร้อน ดีเจโซดาเล่นปืนฉีดน้ำในชุดบางแหวกลึก [คลิป] | The Thaiger
K-Pop5 days ago

สงกรานต์ร้อน ดีเจโซดาเล่นปืนฉีดน้ำในชุดบางแหวกลึก [คลิป]

K-POP : สรุปเดบิ้วเสตจ BlackPink บนเวที Coachella เสียงเชียร์กระหึ่ม [คลิป] | The Thaiger
BLACKPINK7 days ago

K-POP : สรุปเดบิ้วเสตจ BlackPink บนเวที Coachella เสียงเชียร์กระหึ่ม [คลิป]

[K-POP] : สุดจี๊ด MV เพลงใหม่ BTS – Boy With Luv feat. Halsey’ | The Thaiger
BTS7 days ago

[K-POP] : สุดจี๊ด MV เพลงใหม่ BTS – Boy With Luv feat. Halsey’

ตัวอย่างแรก Star Wars ภาค 9 : The Rise of Skywalker – ตัวอย่างแรก (Official ซับไทย) | The Thaiger
ตัวอย่าง7 days ago

ตัวอย่างแรก Star Wars ภาค 9 : The Rise of Skywalker – ตัวอย่างแรก (Official ซับไทย)

ด่วน! ไฟไหม้เซนทรัลเวิลด์ ประชาชนหนีตาย โดดตึก [อัปเดต] | The Thaiger
ข่าว1 week ago

ด่วน! ไฟไหม้เซนทรัลเวิลด์ ประชาชนหนีตาย โดดตึก [อัปเดต]

โซเชียลวิจารณ์คลิปสิบเวรใช้ไม้ฟาดพลทหาร ทำรุนแรงกว่าเหตุหรือไม่ | The Thaiger
ข่าว1 week ago

โซเชียลวิจารณ์คลิปสิบเวรใช้ไม้ฟาดพลทหาร ทำรุนแรงกว่าเหตุหรือไม่

Trending