Connect with us

News

Pushing the election date forward, again

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published 

 on 

Pushing the election date forward, again | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

By Wasamon Audjarint and Kas Chanwenpen

Faced with mounting pressure from critics and the international community, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday said the next election would be held “no later than” next February.

While making his latest promise about the election date, however, Prayut also warned that it would also depend on the situation at the time.

“I am not making any threats. Let’s see what happens when the ban on political activities is lifted,” he said.

He rejected speculation that his post-coup government was plotting to cause endless delays to the election to stay in power. Suspicions to that effect grew after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to postpone enforcement of the MPs election bill for 90 days.

“Now I will give you a clear answer. The election will take place no later than February 2019,” the prime minister told Government House reporters during a press briefing.

What's the best news site in Thailand?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

He confirmed that an election would be held by then, even though all the election commissioners needed to be recruited again after the previous candidates were rejected.

“There must not be any vacancies that affect the election,” he said.

It is the fourth time that the junta has officially delayed the election since its originally promised date in 2015.

Speculation about a February 2019 poll has arisen since the junta-appointed NLA last month decided to delay promulgation of the MPs law by 90 days from Prayut’s earlier promised date of November 2018.

Yesterday, however, was the first official confirmation of the election delay.

It also came despite increasing restlessness among pro-democracy activists, who do not buy into the NLA’s reasoning and want the election to be held this year without further postponement.

Prayut’s promise of a November 2018 election was also partly why the European Union agreed to resume political contacts with the government at all levels.

Critics were yesterday not convinced by Prayut’s latest comments about the new election date.

Activist Siriwith Seritiwat, a core leader of the pro-election movement, slammed Prayut for being inconsistent in his promises.

“His words are no longer credible because he always changes,” the activist said.

“This is no different from when he said the election would happen in November 2018. It is just untrustworthy. He is just trying to reduce the pressure on the government right now.”

Siriwith said the pro-election movement was maintaining its stance that the election must be held this year and he promised it would continue demonstrating until its demand was met.

Yesterday, Prayut also said the “five rivers of power”, a term describing five junta-appointed bodies, should be able to meet after March to resolve outstanding issues related to the election date.

March is also when the two remaining organic laws, the MPs election bill and the Senate selection bill, are expected to be finished by the NLA before being forwarded to the prime minister and then submitted for royal endorsement.

The palace will then take up to 90 days, or by June, before the laws will be announced in the Royal Gazette, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam’s advice to the Cabinet. As quoted by Government Spokesperson Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Wissanu said that since the MPs election bill would take another 90 days to become effective, the law should be promulgated in September.

The MPs election bill will be the last of four organic laws essential to hold the election. Once it is in effect, the election will be organised within 150 days from when the all four laws are ready in September.

Wissanu concluded that the election should consequently be held between next September and February.

“But how soon the election will be held will depend on our readiness and the situation by then,” Sansern said. “The National Council for Peace and Order [NCPO] hopes we can follow the road map.”

Prayut also said yesterday authorities would continue to “monitor” the country’s situation during the 150-day period.

“There should be no instigation once the political ban is lifted,” Prayut said. “But this doesn’t mean that the election will not be held. The [election-related] laws should not be rejected either.”

While the political ban was still in place, Prayut said, a junta order issued in December would allow new parties to choose their party names and hold meetings to prepare for new electoral regulations.

But the moves needed to be permitted by the NCPO on a case-by-case basis, the premier said.

The same order would also require existing parties to compile a database of existing members starting on April 1, but they would still be unable to hold meetings, he added.

SOURCE: The Nation

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Thailand's fastest growing portal for news and information, in association with The Nation.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand may hold a July Songkran event if Covid-19 situation remains stable

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Thailand may hold a July Songkran event if Covid-19 situation remains stable | The Thaiger

Thai citizens are being dangled a carrot – the chance to celebrate Songkran in July. Usually the annual water festival, traditionally the end of the dry season and the start of the wet season, is held on April 13. The event has become a big tourist magnet over the past decade as it’s morphed from traditional Buddhist festival into organised water fights in the streets of Bangkok and tourist towns.

This year it was cancelled as the country was busy being not busy; locked down in their homes instead of outside splashing water everywhere. But the government says they may still hold a Songkran festival in July instead IF the third phase of the easing of lockdown restrictions goes smoothly this month.

‘Phase 3’ started rolling out yesterday and opens up just about everything excepting bars and pubs, and some other entertainment venues. 16 business types and leisure activities resumed yesterday. The curfew has also been reduced to 11pm to 3am daily.

Phuket seems to be trailing behind the rest of the country with a ban on its beaches and airport still in place.

CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin says the Government might declare special public holidays in July to celebrate Songkran. The festival, apart from all the water splashing, is the biggest family get-together of the year when people head back ‘up country’ for large family celebrations. The festival is also the most dangerous time on Thailand’s roads each year.

Dr. Taweesin says the CCSA will assess the results of phase three relaxations this month, adding that…”if the Covid-19 situation improves satisfactorily and people strictly observe the basic guidelines of social distancing, regular hand washing and face mask wearing, it might ask the Government to declare special public holidays in July”.

We’re not sure what “improves satisfactorily” means given that there have no recorded local transmutations of Covid-19 for over a week. All the latest cases are from Thais repatriating on specially organised charter flights from overseas whereby all arrivals must spend 14 days in supervised quarantine.

There is still a state of emergency in effect until at least the end of the June which provides Thai PM Prayut and his appointed committee in the CCSA sweeping powers to address the Covid-19 situation in Thailand without consulting parliament.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Another family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion

The Thaiger

Published

on

Another family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion | The Thaiger

Sometimes you cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s and it’s still not enough to satisfy the paper-pushers, especially at this disruptive time in Thailand, and everywhere else. One Australian father has ended up separated from his family – he’s in Australia and his wife and 2 children are in Thailand being shuffled around Phuket and Bangkok in a Thai paperwork nightmare. Sam Kelly wants his family onto a repatriation flight being organised by the Australian Embassy out of Bangkok on June 6. For now, for reasons not immediately apparent, that’s not going to happen.

“I just want to get my family out of quarantine and onto this flight. I understand that this is not normal circumstances. But the facts are: The Thai and Australian governments have put on this flight to repatriate citizens to Australia. The Thais and the Australians have already shown they can be flexible, but now it looks as though my family might miss this flight. They have been tested and are Covid-19 free.”

The full story of Sam and his family’s plight is below. But Sam is grateful for the help from Australian consular officials up to now.

“I want to thank all the Australian consular staff in Bangkok and Canberra that have been helping me. You have been a great help in a very difficult situation.”

Sam’s story is one among thousands of families separated by the lockdowns and border closures in Thailand, and around the world. The Thaiger believes Sam’s wife and kids, and similar families, should be put on the top of the list of repatriation efforts when bans are lifted and flights resume.

The Thaiger hopes cooler-heads prevail in this case and that Sam, Kanny, Ronny and Adam are back together again soon.

Here is the full unedited text from Sam…


Help me get my family to Australia.

I’m one of the many offshore workers around the world that have been prevented from re uniting with their families

My base is in Phuket Thailand and has been for the last 15 years, I have a wife and 2 children. My wife’s name is Kannika “Kanny” Polngam who is a Thai national and my 2 kids Ronald “Ronny” Kelly (2) and Adam Kelly (5), who are dual Thai and Australian citizens with passports.

On the 12th of February I left Phuket to go on a 4 week on 4 week off rotation. I saw the situation regarding Covid-19 was deteriorating, so I started the process of getting my family out to Australia. I chose to stay here in Australia, so I was available for work, and still be able to provide for my family.

On the 5th of March my kids were taken out of school in Phuket and very strict curfews were imposed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Flights in and out of Thailand all but stopped with the occasional charter/repatriation flight going out of Bangkok to a few different airports in Australia. I managed to secure a flight on only one of 2 flights from Thailand to Australia for the whole month of June. I spoke with Australian consular officials in Bangkok on the phone and was told that it was a good idea to get the family up to Bangkok in case they needed to do more paperwork, etc.

On around the 19th of May, I told Kanny to just lock the house up, throw away anything we don’t need, just pack a few bags and drive off the island, stay with her parents in Bangkok and wait for the flight. She obtained permission from the Wichit Police Department in Phuket Town to leave the island and drive to make the long 12 hour drive to Bangkok. After being granted permission to get off the island my family was stopped at a Surathani checkpoint which is a few hours north of Phuket and directed to drive directly to:

Queen Sirikit Stadium
Klong 6, Tanyaburi, Pathumthani, Bangkok

When they arrived on the 21st of May they were all locked into a very small apartment that was once student housing at a university.

Kanny contacted the authorities and started to make noise. Everyone in my family has been self isolated for months. The kids actually had more people from the schools and government checking on their welfare in our Phuket house than in this little state sanctioned Bangkok student accommodation. No Thais authorities are checking on their welfare now, they just get a few bags of food thrown on their doorstop every day.

After Kanny made some noise the Thai authorities came and did a Covid-19 check on everyone. The results came back negative the next day and it was agreed that they would all be released and go to my mother and father in laws house nearby in Bangkok.

Now today it is Friday, my wife just got a phone call and one of the head honchos there by the name of Mr Boonlert, he has decided to revoke what he promised which was them being released into self isolation. The date that they will be released now is the 6th of June. This is one day after this flight leaves from Bangkok to Brisbane.

Another family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion | News by The ThaigerAnother family kept apart by Thai red tape and quarantine confusion | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Kannika and the two boys are removed from the self-isolation they had been granted and returned to state quarantine – khaosod.co.th

During this time the Australian Consulate and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been in touch with me stating, they cannot issue a ticket for my family to fly to Australia on this special flight until the family are out of quarantine. The Thai authorities have quite happily let people transit through Bangkok who have tickets out of Thailand, but as the Thai authorities have my family in detention, the Australians authorities will not issue a ticket to fly out.

So I am stuck between a rock and a hard place, my family has:

• Been in self isolation for months
• Been checked regularly by the Thai government and their school teachers doing home visits during the time schools closed on the 5th of March
• Have attended regular doctors appointments, including a health screen for my wife to apply for an Australian visa
• Have been in enforced state quarantine for over a week now and passed a Covid-19 test which was a horrible experience for them
• Look like they might miss one of the last flights back to Australia due to this Thai state quarantine period and if by some miracle they make the flight, they have the absolute joy of doing another 2 week quarantine in a hotel in Australia

Thousands of people have travelled to Bangkok from Phuket and none of them have been quarantined, the quarantine is actually a DISCRETION. There has been Australians being repatriated from Phuket, and they have been able to travel hassle free to Bangkok and wait for their flights out. Why are my kids the only Australians that have been locked up? I’m having serious concerns about their mental health at the moment.

All I want is the best for my kids, and neither the Australian or Thai public servants are providing that now.

These boys have not played with another kid or seen a blade of grass since the 5th of March, that means that if they went to Australia, it would be over 3 and a half months by the time they finished their last isolation period.

I have paid taxes in both countries for many years. I want some sort of communication between the Thai authorities and the Australian authorities.

Why are these Australian children being detained? They don’t have Covid-19 and they need to get out of quarantine to get back to Australia on the 5th of June.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Thailand

Thailand News Today – Monday, June 1

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Thailand News Today – Monday, June 1 | The Thaiger

Returnees from UK found with high fever, hospitalised

Of the 251 Thais who repatriated from the UK yesterday 20 were found to have high fevers and rushed to hospital, according Suvarnabhumi Airport’s deputy director.

The Thai Airways charter flight arrived at the airport at 2.20pm. Screening found that 20 passengers had high fever and they were rushed to hospital. 16 passengers also opted for the alternative 5 star state quarantine facilities, while the rest were transported to the government’s specified facilities in Bangkok and Samut Prakarn.

A Korean Airlines flight arrived last night, also at Suvarnabhumi, bringing 194 Thais from South Korea. Screening officers found 13 of the passengers with high fever. 18 of them upgraded their mandatory 14 day quarantine at a designated hotel.

Thailand has registered on only new Covid-19 case today, another Thai returnee, this time from Russia.

No “new normal” for Thailand’s deadly road toll

In what will come as no surprise to most, the death toll on Thailand’s roads has resumed its upward trend after a brief interruption during the Covid-19 lock-down.

More people are back behind the wheel or the handlebars, and with that, the carnage has returned to Thailand’s roads.

In Phuket, a truck ploughed into a power pole on Saturday, killing the Thai driver and a Burmese national who was hit by the falling power pole as he rode his motorbike on the opposite side of the road.

In the west of the country yesterday, a mother and 3 year old daughter were killed, when the car they were travelling in, left the road and slammed into a tree in Kanchanaburi.

Another accident in the south killed an 80 year old woman in Nakhon Si Thammarat, when the motorbike she was a pillion passenger on was hit by a car.

As of our recording time, 29 people have already died on Thailand’s roads today and another 1,629 have been injured. Annually some 21,000 Thais die on the road, putting it into the Top 10 countries in the world for the most dangerous roads.

Police identify individuals seeking bribes from Pattaya hotels, no charges filed

Pattaya police say they’ve identified a number of individuals chasing kickbacks from hotels in exchange for being listed as a Covid-19 quarantine facility.

However, as none of the hotels involved have filed a complaint, the individuals in question have not been charged. Well, yet anyway.

With hotels across the city shut down as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, some people have attempted to exploit the desperation of those in the hospitality sector. The statement from the Pattaya police comes in the wake of the government pledging to crack down on such extortion and identify those responsible.

Thai PM Prayut is pressing for legal action to be taken against those involved

Southern mayor backs bounty for shark hunt after boy’s foot was bitten

People are searching for a shark after it apparently bit a boy’s foot at a pier in the southern province of Satun. The local mayor even said he’ll give a cash reward of 1,000 baht to whoever catches the shark. He even took a long tail boat out on Saturday afternoon to scope out the scene and try and track down the shark.

Last Thursday, a 12 year old was playing on the pier with two of his friends. Something bit him when he was swinging his legs in the canal. The boy is okay, but he needed 50 stitches (yikes!!).

Researchers from the Marine and Coastal Resources Department say the bite is most likely from a bull shark.

14,000+ people contract dengue this year

More than 14,000 people have contracted dengue fever and 11 have died so far this year, the country’s north and east the hardest hit.

From Jan 1 to May 25 this year, 14,136 people were found to have caught dengue fever, or 21.2 per 100,000 population. Eleven people died from the disease during the period.

The five provinces with the highest numbers of dengue fever cases were Rayong, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Mae Hong Son and Nakhon Ratchasima.

25 arrested after police raid online gambling base in Mae Sot

Police arrested 25 people involved in online gambling after a raid Saturday night at a house in Mae Sot, Northern Thailand, right on the Burmese border.

Police also confiscated equipment used for the online gaming. Out of the 25 people arrested, 5 of them were Thai and the rest were foreigners, mostly from China.

Police seized 7 computers, 14 smartphones and 2,000 to 2,500 SIM cards. The gambling operation also has 50 bank accounts with a total of around 100 million baht.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Trending