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  • Thailand General Election 2023

    Thai ruling party irks progressives with electoral tweaks
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    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha: The first general election under Thailand's new electoral system must be held by March 2023 at the latest.

    Voters in Thailand's next general election will cast two ballots, one for a lower house candidate and another for their preferred political party, in the wake of constitutional amendments that alter the electoral system. The changes are likely to favor large political parties while working against smaller parties, including a progressive party that emerged in the 2019 general elections.

    The new system will reserve 400 lower house seats for constituency winners, up from 350 under the current system. Another 100 lawmakers -- down from 150 at present -- will be chosen by proportional representation from party lists. Currently, votes in a constituency are allocated proportionally to parties to which candidates belong. Under the revised system, voters will cast two ballots: one for a parliament candidate and another for a party.

    Passage of the amendments on their third reading in parliament on Friday was the final hurdle. The amendments, which were first proposed by the ruling Palang Pracharat Party, will be forwarded to King Vajiralongkorn for formal endorsement. Changes proposed by the opposition were voted down in earlier readings.

    The first general election under the new system must be held by March 2023 at the latest. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha may, however, call a snap election before then.
    In a joint parliamentary session Friday to vote on the amendments, 323 lower house members and 149 senators voted in favor of the changes, fulfilling the requirement that at least one-third of senators and 20% of opposition members must support any constitutional amendment. There were 127 abstentions in the lower house and 66 in the Senate. Thirty-three lawmakers in total voted no.

    The vote tallies reflected likely winners and losers under the new electoral arrangement. The ruling Palang Pracharat Party and the opposition Pheu Thai Party, the two largest parties in Thailand, voted in favor of the changes. Palang Pracharat is supported by the establishment across the country. Pheu Thai was formed by allies of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and has a strong base in northern and northeastern Thailand, where many farmers live. It has not been decided where the 50 new constituencies will be added, but the two parties' strong political bases gave them reason to believe they will gain seats under the new system. There is a possibility of gerrymandering as well.

    Senators' votes were split. Most incumbent senators were hand-picked by a committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Palang Pracharat leader Prawit Wongsuwon when he was part of the junta that ruled Thailand between 2014 and 2019. These senators tend to support the ruling coalition. But some senators insisted the two-ballot system would encourage political horse-trading and corruption. Thailand had a similar voting system in 1997, under which Thaksin became prime minister. In 2006, he was ousted in a military coup. After the coup, the 1997 constitution was abolished.

    Many members of smaller political parties in both the opposition and the ruling coalition abstained from the amendment vote. These included Palang Pracharat's close ally, the Bhumjai Thai Party. The opposition's most anti-establishment and progressive party, Move Forward, also declined to cast many votes.

    Move Forward's predecessor, Future Forward, which was disbanded in February 2020, won 50 out of its 81 seats from the party list in the 2019 general election. It believes the amendment to trim proportional representation seats is a tactic by the establishment aimed at halting the rise of progressive parties. Move Forward is widely supported by the mostly younger anti-establishment, pro-democracy protesters who have been staging rallies since last year. The movement lost momentum due to the resurgence of COVID-19 and the government's frequent use of draconian lese-majeste laws to punish demonstrators.

    Demonstrators protest the Thai government's handling of COVID-19 pandemic and demand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's resignation.

    But the anti-government protests have recently regained steam, putting stronger emphasis on Prayuth's resignation rather than the monarchy reforms. The movement is helped by Prayuth government's mishandling of the vaccine rollout, which led outbreaks of the highly contagious delta variant. The government's failure to contain the virus has raised worries among some ruling-party some lawmakers over their reelection prospects.

    Move Forward and its predecessor have been subject to political and legal attacks by the establishment, as they look to debate in parliament the monarchy's role in Thailand, long a taboo subject. For that very reason, Move Forward is the favorite among those looking to shake up the country's politics.

    The protesters demanded constitutional amendments during last year's rallies, along with Prayuth's resignation and reforms to the monarchy. Prayuth's government and the ruling party have cleverly taken advantage of the opposition and protesters' push for constitutional change to rewrite the charter in their favor.

    The method of calculating the number of seats filled from party lists is expected to be clearer under the new electoral system. In the 2019 general election, the calculation method was a black box. The Election Commission awarded 12 parties a seat each. They each won less than 0.3% of all ballots cast. The 12 parties all joined the ruling coalition, giving it a big enough majority in the lower house to pass new laws easily.

    Under Thailand's current constitution, a joint vote of the lower house and the Senate chooses the prime minister. A candidate with support from all 250 senators needs only 126 votes from the lower house to win the prime minister's seat. This raises the possibility of a minority government and a stalled legislative agenda. Such impasses have led to coups in Thailand in the past.

    The political power of the Senate is seen by would-be reformers as problematic, but the latest round of amendments did not do much to trim it. The requirement for support from at least one-third of the Senate for any constitutional change, in effect, gives the Senate a veto over any change that threatens its power.

  • #2
    Banking on a Shinawatra Revival – Pheu Thai kicks off their 2023 Election Campaign

    No surprise, despite some conservative media painting it as a shock political move. The official announcement of Paethongtan Shinawatra’s role at in the Pheu Thai election machine as “chief adviser in participation and innovation” has been spoken about for the past month. The return of a ‘Shinawatra’ – the former fugitive PM’s youngest daughter no less – will re-focus additional attention on the leading opposition party.

    Whilst it will garner additional support from their loyal party base, in the north east along with agricultural and working communities around the country, the announcement will give the conservative forces a larger target in the upcoming year of electioneering and postur Whilst there has been calls for an early election, as Thailand emerges from 6 months of pandemic-induced miasma, the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is under no obligation to call an election until 2023.

    Despite a few large holes appearing in the good-ship ‘Palang Pracaharat’ over the past year, the crew have been busy below decks plugging up the larger leaks. Recently the party had to publicly polish over the rift caused by the one-time prison guest, courtesy of the Australian Government, of deputy Agricultural minister and party secretary Thammanat Prompao.

    His alleged internal coup, gathering votes of Palang Pracharat MPs during the recent no confidence debate for the PM in parliament, did not go down well with Prayut who demanded his head on a plate. In the end the PMs loyal stalwart, the 76 year old deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, convinced the party to keep the loose-cannon Thammanat as the party Secretary General

    Thammanat’s roles as ‘fixer’ in Palang Pracharat, is a similar role that Thaksin’s daughter will now fulfil in the leading opposition party. But the maths are quite simple, barring any huge swings one way or the other, for the next election. The two main opposition parties – Pheu Thai and Move Forward – will garner a clear majority with Palang Pracharat struggling to get over the 25% mark. A usually-reliable Suan Dusit poll was published last week. The results were quite clear…

    • 33% – Pheu Thai Party.
    • 25% – Move Forward Party.
    • 25% – Palang Pracharath Party.
    • --6% – Democrat Party.
    • --4% – Bhumjaithai Party.
    The top two parties are the current opposition parties. The bottom three are the backbone of the current government coalition.

    • 29% – Pita Limjaroenrat (current leader Move Forward Party)
    • 21% – Prayut Chan-o-cha (Current PM and Palang Pracharat prime ministerial candidate)
    • 19% – Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan (Pheu Thai former party leader)
    • --9% – Abhisit Vejjajiva (Democrats)
    • --6% – Khunying Pojaman Damapong (ex.wife of Thaksin Shinawatra)
    Most pundits believe the re-entry of the Shinawatra name into the election cycle will mostly serve to bolster the opposition forces, although most doubt she is a knock-out blow for the current coalition. Indeed she will act as a new punching bag for the government as they spend the next 12 months figuring out their re-election strategy. The Pheu Thai, the party of the former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, has been out of power since the military coup in May 2014. Paethongtan Shinawatra’s addition to the party machinery is a solid indication that there is a concerted effort by Pheu Thai to win the next election (even though they won, by far, with the most standing MPs in the 2019 general election).

    The Pheu Thai leadership obviously sees the Thaksin brand as useful in winning the lower house of the Thai Parliament. But the opposition will not only need to pass the mathematical “50% plus 1” milestone to win the next election. It will need to win big. The Senate of the Thai Parliament is still a group of 250 handpicked senators, mostly ex-army affiliates and FOPs (friends of Prayut). If no party is able to garner a majority in the lower house, then a combined sitting of the lower and upper house can vote for a prime minister, including an ‘outside’ person who did not stand as an M.

    The current prime minister of Thailand was handed the top job using exactly that quirk in the Constitution – although leader of the Military coup and governing NCPO, Prayut never stood for office and has never been elected by the Thai people. So Paethongtan Shinawatra’s role becomes even more important as a vanguard for opposition forces to counter Thailand’s conservative, military and ‘elite’ forces that have woven the 2017 Thai Constitution to make it difficult for opposition parties to regain control of the lower house.

    Each party needs to nominate a prime ministerial candidate in the lead up to the next election. Are Pheu Thai using her new role heading up their election strategy to see if she has more general support as a possible PM candidate?

    Although unlikely to admit it, Paethongtan will certainly become one the Pheu Thai’s three PM candidates if that’s what her father Thaksin desires. Although heading into self-exile in 2008, Thaksin still wields tremendous power in Thai political life and, particularly, Pheu Thai. Though many modern party members will be happy to put the memory of Thaksin into the Pheu Thai trophy cabinet, Paethongtan Shinawatra will either garner a renewed support for the Shinawatra clan or fail to ignite much enthusiasm. We will see.

    In the meantime, with the worst of the third wave of Covid in Thailand’s rear-view mirror, the always-colourful Thai politics will move back onto the front page of the country’s newspapers. Be assured, the election campaign has already started.


    • #3
      2019 Thailand Election Results
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      • #4
        Police deny detaining or threatening woman who told PM to “retire quickly”

        Police in the north-eastern province have denied an allegation that they detained a woman who told the Thai PM to, “retire quickly”. Following the incident, which occurred in the Udon Thani district of Ban Dung while the PM was visiting the forest temple of Wat Kham Cha Not, reports emerged that the woman had been taken to a police station for an “attitude adjustment”. The Bangkok Post reports that Pitsanu Unahaseri, Udon Thani police chief, and Jakrapop Srichanta, Ban Dung police chief, strongly deny the allegation.

        The story first broke when the woman, a noodle vendor, addressed the PM as he met with members of the public in the grounds of the temple. She called out to him, suggesting he retire quickly if he couldn’t deliver what the country needed.

        “We need a lot of development. If you can’t do that, I’d like to ask you to retire quickly to allow others to perform these duties.”
        According to the Bangkok Post, the PM turned back to the woman and asked her what she’d said, to which she responded by repeating her statement. The PM responded in turn by telling her to check his achievements.

        “Go check what I’ve done and how much progress I’ve made.”
        The woman subsequently claimed she was visited by the police and taken to the local station, where her details were recorded and she underwent an “attitude adjustment” session. However, at a press conference called to address the claims, the police have refuted the allegations. Pitsanu says this never happened and the police would only ever act as the law permits.

        “Anyone who is uncertain about their safety should immediately inform the police. We would be glad to provide due protection. In this case, I would like to convey a message to the woman that she can rest assured that, from what happened, she has the right to free expression as well as to protection.”


        • #5
          Ready and willing: Anutin says he’s prepared to be next PM and lead Thailand

          Thailand’s somewhat controversial health minister, Anutin Charvirakul, says he’s ready to lead the country and become the next PM. According to an ASEAN NOW report, Anutin was addressing a gathering of his Bhumjaithai Party in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat.

          His comments have been picked up by the Thai media, with Sanook posting a photo of him with a caption indicating that he is now a prime ministerial candidate. He has some support too, with Transport Minister Salsayam Chidchob saying he’d back him. However, Anutin was careful to point out that he still fully supports the current PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, and would only consider taking over when the PM is ready to step down.

          The Covid-19 pandemic has put Anutin in the spotlight, and not only with Thai citizens. He came to the attention of foreign residents and some tourists during the early days of the pandemic, when he berated “dirty farang” for not accepting the face masks he was handing out as part of a PR stunt at a Bangkok station. He then went as far as to suggest that foreigners should be kicked out of the country. Rightly or wrongly, many blame his comments for a disturbing wave of xenophobia that emerged shortly after.

          Last week, Anutin hit the headlines again when he declared that the pandemic was no match for Thailand and the healthcare workers he’s in charge of. Addressing an event in the north-eastern province of Loei, he described Covid-19 as “inferior” when compared to his ministry. The ASEAN NOW report points out that he’s also survived several potentially politically damaging incidents when he was caught not wearing a facemask.


          • #6
            No early election, no Cabinet reshuffle says Thai PM

            The Thai PM says he has no plans to call an early election or to reshuffle his Cabinet after 21 MPs loyal to him were pushed out earlier this week. The Bangkok Post reports that Prayut Chan-o-cha has also distanced himself from the ouster of Thamanat Prompow and 20 other MPs, who have been accused of sowing division within the ranks of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party. The PM says their dismissal was an internal party affair and that the PPRP was probably trying to restore a sense of normalcy.

            “I’m not saying who is good or bad. Let their actions speak for themselves. The people will decide at the next election. I insist that I have no intention to change the cabinet line-up or dissolve the House. The law (on the new election system) isn’t ready. Don’t mix them up.”
            The dismissal of Thamanat and the other MPs means they now have 30 days to find a new party or lose their MP status, according to the Bangkok Post report. Their removal follows Thamanat’s sacking from Cabinet a few months ago, accused of trying to orchestrate the removal of the PM in a no-confidence debate last year.

            According to media reports, 8 small coalition parties are considering an alliance with Thamanat. However, Suratin Picharn, leader of the New Democracy Party, says things are only at the discussion stage at the moment and no decision has been made.

            “Things should become clear next week. I have to wait for him to get a new party first.”
            Khathathep Techadechruangkul from the Puea Chart Thai Party has denied suggestions that his party might join Thamanat’s, insisting that 5 parties will remain aligned with the ruling coalition and continue to support the PM. Meanwhile, when asked if the PPRP leader and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon had any comment to make on the latest developments, the PM responded: “Love and best wishes and mutual respect.”

            PM says he won’t quit while the country needs him

            The Thai PM says he’s not going anywhere and will remain in position at least until next year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, which Thailand is hosting. According to a Bangkok Post report, Prayut Chan-o-cha was responding to questions from reporters about the remainder of his 4-year term, which ends in March 2023. He says as long as the country needs him, he won’t quit.

            “It is about running the country. We will stay on in line with the law. The country is plagued with many problems that need to be addressed.”
            According to the PM however, Thailand has still made significant progress and his administration is focused on attracting more foreign investment and taking care of the less well-off in society.

            “Looking after low-income people is close to the heart of the prime minister.”
            He has also dismissed claims from opposition parties that the ruling coalition is in trouble.

            “It is just their imagination.”
            The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand will host the first APEC meeting in Phuket between December 1 and 3, when it takes over the chairmanship from New Zealand. During 2022, a further series of APEC meetings will be held across the country, with the summit held in Bangkok from October 30 – November 3. The PM says Thailand’s chairmanship of APEC 2022 presents significant opportunities for creating a sustainable post-pandemic future.

            In other news, Patcharin Samsiripong from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party has addressed the matter of a leaked document that appeared to show some of the party’s election pledges. The document referenced providing farming households with credit cards with a limit of up to 50,000 baht, as well as offering each sub-district a grant of 20 million baht. However, Patcharin says these were just suggestions from MPs and nothing has been set in stone. She says the suggestions were made at a meeting on Tuesday, where some MPs made proposals verbally while others wrote them down on papers that were passed around.


            • #7
              Ruling party ousts renegade MP Thammanat Prompao after tumultuous career

              Thailand’s ruling Palang Pracharat Party has ousted the notorious Thai politician Thammanat Prompao who, apart from other alleged transgressions, was convicted conspiring to import heroin in Australia. He has also been accused of urging voters in a Songkhla bi-election to vote for someone “from a family with pedigree and wealth,” a statement his opponents in the party considered divisive. Palang Pracharat both both bi-elections in the south to the Democrats.

              His statement was simply the latest scandal in Thammanat’s chaotic political career. Thai PBS detailed the MP’s controversial trajectory in politics today, starting with him first being elected as an MP, until this most recent scuffle with Palang Pracharat’s allies of the current PM.

              The 56 year old began his political career in 1999 when he joined Thai Rak Thai, an opposition party to the conservative forces, but didn’t win his first seat as an MP until 2019 when he joined Palang Pracharat, the party set up as a political front for the former Army-led NCPO.

              Thammanat had served 4 years of imprisonment in Australia* under a drug trafficking conviction in 1994, however, Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled that he would only be barred from a government post if he had been convicted in Thailand (which he had not been).

              Manat Bophlom, now known as Thamanat Prompau, was convicted of conspiring to import heroin to Australia. The ruling was handed down on March 31, 1994 when he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. ‘Manat’ served 4 years, then was deported upon his release. Thammanat eventually became the secretary-general of his party, exerting additional political punch because of his close relationship with Prayut loyal stalwart Prawit Wongsuwan. Last year, Thammanat was accused of plotting to unseat PM Prayut Chan-o-Cha. In September 2021, Prayut fired Thammanat and his ally, deputy labour minister Narumon Pinyosinwat, from the Cabinet. This destroyed relations between Prayut and Thammanat, who once had been on good terms. When Thammanat maintained his party seat, tensions boiled. After Thammanat made his recent statement encouraging Songkhla voters to vote in an election for someone wealthy, others in Palang Pracharath blamed Thammanat for the party’s defeat in the election. They then finally ousted Thammanat.


              • #8
                Thai PM – “I will stay on as long as the law allows”

                “I will stay on as long as the law allows. I am bound by the law, and cannot do anything at will.”
                Words from Thailand’s PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday, vowing that he will only stay on in the top job whilst the law allows him too. He also reminded reporters that there are two organic laws regarding elections in Thailand that still need to clear Parliament, which could affect the outcome of the next general poll. The first amendment relates to the number of ‘constituency’ MPs that would increased from the current 350 to 400. The number of ‘list’ MPs would drop from 150 to 100. But the total 500 MPs in the lower House of Parliament would remain the same.

                The other change would see the former single ballot paper increased to two. There would be one for choosing a constituency MP, the second for electing list MPs. The alleged ‘manipulation’ of list MPs, and their votes, after the 2019 election was roundly criticised by opposition MPs and parties. Neither of these changes would directly affect the nomination of the prime minister, who, under he current constitution can be plucked from outside parliament if a single party fails to win a majority of votes in the lower house. This is how the former coup leader was able to be nominated for the PM position, despite not standing for election as an MP.
                PM Prayut has been serving in the role of Thailand’s prime minister for nearly 8 years, although only 3 years (next month) under the current election rules.

                In May 2014 General Prayut Chan-o-cha led the army in a bloodless coup to oust the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra. The former PM now resides outside of Thailand, having fled in September 2017 after arrest warrants were issued following the Constitutional Court’s findings that Yingluck, and her government, were guilty over misappropriation of funds for a rice-pledging scheme. The charges and arrests were widely viewed as political theatre to legitimise the Army’s 2014 coup.

                In further remarks yesterday, the PM addressed criticism of parliamentarians who were avoiding sessions to vote on legislation. The lack of MPs meant that there wasn’t a quorum to continue with the meetings. Many MPs, mostly part of the ruling coalition, had been calling in sick because of Covid-19. The Thai PM was quoted by the Bangkok Post…

                “No progress will be made if the sessions continue to collapse. If you want the election, you must pass the two organic laws, which in turn requires you to attend parliament sessions.”
                The bills have been discussed in formal public and committee meetings and will now go to a lower house vote in the last week of February. The Thai Parliament will have its next break at the end of February and then meet again in May for a 4 month session. If it runs its full course, the current government will ends its tenure in March next year when there will be the next general election.

                In recent weeks the ruling Palang Pracharat party has been bleeding MPs with mass evictions and departures. The coalition, involving some 21 parties and independent MPs, now clings onto a wafer-thin majority (but can likely still rely on the votes of the MP’s no longer officially in the Palang Pracharat party).

                After finding themselves without a party, the disgruntled MPs are now forming new, conservative, power bases to content the next election. Most have made public comments critical of the current PM and will be pushing other nominees as their preferred prime ministerial candidates in the lead up to the next election.

                Former deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is being touted as a strong candidate to be the next Thai prime minister. He’d be championed by the newly-formed Sang Anakhot Thai Party (Building Thailand’s Future). Somkid was a co-founder of the progressive Thai Rak Thai party with Thaksin Shinawatra which contested and won three successive elections from 1998. He served with Prayut, firstly as an economic advisor for the NCPO (who led the coup), and then as a deputy PM up until 2020.

                Also waiting in the wings is the mercurial public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who’s high profile roll in the government, particularly during the pandemic, has brought him to the attention of the Thai electorate.


                • #9
                  Thai PM refuses to discuss possibility of early elections or confirm he will complete term

                  The Thai PM has refused to rule out the possibility of House dissolution and an early end to his tenure, in a change to his usual stance. Prayut Chan-o-cha has always reiterated his plan to remain in office until the end of his term next March and possibly beyond, ruling out any chance of early elections. However, while responding to comments made by Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon, he appeared to adopt a different tone.

                  The Bangkok Post reports that, while addressing members of small coalition parties, Prawit had stated that the government needed the support of the parties until the APEC summit, which takes place in November. After that, he appeared to hint, the House would likely be dissolved and a general election held in early 2023. When asked yesterday about those comments, Prawit admitted he’d discussed the possibility of House dissolution, but insisted that it was just his personal opinion and not his decision to make.

                  “House dissolution is for the PM alone to decide.”
                  The PM himself agreed, confirming he’d spoken to Prawit about his remarks.

                  “We have talked. He told me it is the PM who makes decisions.”
                  According to the Bangkok Post report, the PM would not comment further on the possibility of House dissolution or ending his term after the APEC summit ends.

                  “It is up to me to make a decision. Why should I tell anyone in advance? The situation will be the deciding factor. The country survives and overcomes problems because the Thai people unite to fight whenever there are threats. But we have now been so divided and plagued with problems. Let’s think what we can do.”

                  Thai PM denies he’s trying to remain in power for up to 20 years

                  The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, says it’s not true he’s using the 20-year national strategy as an excuse to cling on to power for up to 20 years. According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM rejected the allegation during a speech at a Thai Chamber of Commerce event yesterday.

                  “Efforts have been made to distort the intention (of the strategy). I insist that I do not want to cling on to power over the next 20 years.”
                  The PM insists the intention of the 20-year strategy is to safeguard Thailand’s future by strengthening national security, improving the country’s competitiveness, boosting economic growth while safeguarding the environment, and improving social equality. He says the 20-year strategy will enable the country to achieve its goals in an uninterrupted manner. However, its detractors disagree.

                  According to the Bangkok Post report, critics of the PM and the strategy say it will limit future governments’ ability to implement their own decisions and adapt to new circumstances. They say the plan will have an impact on the policies of future governments as they will all have to fall in line with the national strategy. However, deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam has previously insisted the strategy can be reviewed and amended every 5 years if necessary.

                  During yesterday’s speech, the PM pointed out that the strategy includes measures to deal with issues like flooding, strengthening the economy, and helping citizens who are struggling with financial hardship and health issues. He says he’s willing to listen to his critics and denies being a dictator.

                  “I am not saying I am better than others. I am ready to listen and make improvements. I am not the stubborn type. If the suggestions are sound, I am ready to take them up and we also have to follow procedures. I always think of how far things can be carried out when it comes to addressing problems. If they want us to solve the problems, we will ask them to be more specific. I am not a mean person or a dictator. We will do as best as we can.”


                  • #10
                    Daughter of former PM Thaksin moves up in political career, closer to PM candidacy

                    Thailand’s main opposition party is leaning closer to choosing their candidate for prime minister and reports say the daughter of the former leader Thaksin Shinawatra might run as the party’s candidate. Thaksin’s daughter, Paetongtarn, was announced as the project leader for a Pheu Thai party campaign to draw in new members, but when asked about becoming a candidate for prime minister, she said it was too soon to say, adding that Pheu Thai has many qualified members.

                    Becoming the project leader was another step ahead in Paetongtarn’s career as a politician, following her role in charge of promoting innovation and increasing public engagement of all ages in the Thai Rak Thai party created by her father. She was announced as the project head of a campaign to recruit new members to Thailand’s opposition party, Pheu Thai, in Udon Thani, northeastern Thailand. She planned to increase its total number of members from 8 million to 14 million in order to win the next general election.

                    “The Pheu Thai Party must not only win the election but also be the core party in a new government so that party policy will be implemented,”
                    When asked about her possibilities of being a prime minister nominee, she stated that it was too early to discuss the matter until Parliament was disbanded. Several members of the party are able to be considered as candidates for the role.

                    Thaksin and his younger sister, Yingluck, are the Shinawatras’ who were both prime ministers, however, military coups forced both of them out of the role.


                    • #11
                      In Thailand, Move Forward candidate more popular than Prayut in PM poll

                      While the largest percentage of Thais, 27.62%, said in a poll that “no one” is suitable to be Prime Minister, Move Forward Party candidate Pita Limjaroenrat is slightly ahead of current PM Prayut. 13.42% of respondents prefer Pita, while 12.67% prefer Prayut.

                      This means that Pita is now the country’s most preferred candidate, followed by Prayut, then Paethongtan Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party, and then Khunying Sudarat, leader of the Thai Srang Thai Party. The next candidates on the list represent a wide variety of political parties. 3.61% of respondents said they had no answers, or were not interested.

                      The poll was conducted over five days from March 10-15. Respondents were Thais from across the country 18 years old and above, with diverse jobs and levels of education.

                      Thailand’s ruling military-backed government forced the progressive Future Forward Party to dissolve in 2020. Former members of the party then formed the Move Forward Party. Thailand has seen unrest since the current government came to power in a coup in 2014. In the summer of 2020, a wave of protests movements began among Thailand’s university students, and eventually expanded into many parts of Thai society.

                      Thailand’s junta government, as well as institutions like universities, continue to silence descent by accusing activists of violating censorship laws and “disrespecting Thai culture“, among other things.


                      • #12
                        Former Thai PM denies his daughter will run for the top job
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                        On Clubhouse this week, a favourite platform for former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s former elected leader denied rumours that his youngest daughter, Paetongtarn, will run in the next Thailand election as the nominated PM candidate for the Pheu Thai Party. Instead, he wants to see her in the party working on the marketing and strategic side of things.

                        On April 24, she will submit “her homework,” which was given to her by the party 6 months ago. It’s unconfirmed what she’s currently working on. When questioned if he wants to see her daughter run for the top office, he said…

                        “I am not dreaming too far yet. There is no room for imagination yet. I just want her to help with academic work and bring people together to brainstorm ideas.”
                        Thaksin has long been suspected of pulling Pheu Thai’s strings on multiple occasions, which he continually denies. In response to his daughter’s potential run for the prime ministerial candidate for Pheu Thai in the next campaign, Thaksin referred to Prawit Wongsuwon who’s the current Deputy PM and leader of the Palang Pracharath Party.

                        “It is not appropriate for the 35 year old to step in if the 75 year old remains in power. But if the 35 year old manages to get in, the other should not stay anymore. If you believe that a generational change should not take place yet, then let the 75 year old stay on.”
                        After being put in charge of a project aimed at building harmony within the Pheu Thai Party, she’s been at the centre of attention ever since, especially being the daughter of Thaksin and niece of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s last PM before the Prayut regime came to office in an army coup in 2014.

                        Paetongtarn was named Pheu Thai’s main counsellor “on participation and innovation” during the organisation’s meeting in Khon Kaen back in October 2021. A general election is predicted to be called sometime between November this year and April 2023.
                        Last edited by Steve; 04-14-2022, 03:57 PM.


                        • #13
                          Members of Thailand’s Move Forward Party banned from renewing passport

                          A member of Thailand’s Move Forward Party told the press today that she and two other party members have been banned from renewing their passports on suspicion that they have committed treason. MFP member Pannika Wanich made the announcement after meeting with Phaya Thai police today, who she said made the order for the ban.

                          The Department of Consular Affairs will be able to renew their passports if the police revoke the order. Pannika added that police told her they made the order so they would not be seen as negligent, since sedition concerns national security. Prosecutors will announce on May 19 whether or not they will pursue the cases.

                          The two other members banned from renewing their passports are Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul. Pannika said she would like to ask if the police’s order is an “act of discrimination” against them for their political views.

                          “Apart from me, Thanathorn, and Piyabutr, there are still many political activists, advocates and youths who have had renewal of their passports suspended in the same manner”.
                          Members of the MFP have faced various legal allegations from the beginning of their campaigning. The party is made up of former members of the Future Forward Party, which was formed in 2018 but forced to dissolve in 2020. Thanathorn has been accused of violating Thailand’s lèse majesté laws.

                          These accusations involve remarks he made during a livestream talk he gave last year, in which he discussed the government’s procurement of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and allegedly casting indirect suspicion on His Majesty the King.


                          • #14
                            Top politicians resign from Democrat Party as pressure mounts for changing of guard

                            Top members of Thailand’s Democrat Party have resigned in the wake of a sex scandal that’s rocked that party in recent weeks. Senior politician Kanok Wongtrangan announced on Facebook today that he has quit his role as a deputy leader in the party out of “moral conscience”.

                            His resignation follows that of deputy prime minister Wittaya Kaewparadai, who resigned from the party on Friday, citing the ongoing sex scandal involving another former deputy leader, Prinn Panitchpakdi, whom many women have accused of sexual assault and rape.

                            Kanok said that he decided to reign because the party’s response to the sex scandal has failed to meet the expectations of the public, who have questioned the executive committee’s moral accountability. His statements echo those of Wittaya, who on Friday warned the party’s executive committee that it must do more to restore the party’s image, which has been seriously tarnished by the allegations. His solution? Resign.

                            On April 14, Prinn resigned from his post as deputy leader and gave up his party membership in order to fight claims of sexual assault filed against him.

                            So far, at least 18 women have filed an avalanche of sexual assault allegations against the politician. Some cases date back to his time in the UK and include allegations of rape. Prinn resigned after his first accuser, an 18 year old woman, filed a complaint with police earlier this month. Since then, many more women have come out to accuse him of sexual assault.

                            Wittaya, who is himself a former deputy leader, is also a former MP, health minister and government whip chief. He said that he’s been a member of other political parties in Thailand, but that he’s been most loyal to the Democrat Party. He said that although the party has had its ups and downs, the current sex scandal is especially ruinous.

                            According to Wittaya, now the executive committee needs to show that ethical standards supersede the law. He said the executive committee should be held accountable “because it is they who brought Prinn into the party in the first place,” even though they technically hadn’t done anything wrong.

                            Wittaya said he might return if the party undergoes major changes. If not, then Thailand’s oldest political party would have “no future”. According to him, someone must be held accountable for how the party handles the scandal, ThaiPBS reported. For many observers, that someone is Jurin Laksanawisit, who earlier said he would not resign from his post as leader of the Democrat Party.

                            Speaking to reporters after the Democract Party’s general assembly on Saturday, Jurin said that the executive committee would remain in place while they work to resolve the controversy surrounding what is set to become Thailand’s largest #MeToo scandal to date. The deputy prime minister also reiterated that he would not resign from his post or the party…

                            ”Responsibility that goes beyond the limit can become irresponsibility. When problems arise during my stint [as party leader], I will not shift the responsibility onto others. We are duty-bound to tackle problems without running away. This is [the principle] we adhere to.”


                            • #15
                              Daughter of former PM calls for ‘landslide win’ in Thailand’s general election

                              Panthongtae Shinawatra, the daughter of exiled former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, has repeated her call for supporters to vote for the Pheu Thai Party in Thailand’s upcoming general election. Addressing party members at her party’s general assembly on Sunday, she said only a “landslide win” would do.

                              “Pheu Thai is ready to work after a House dissolution. A landslide win. That’s the only thing that Pheu Thai wants.”
                              Pheu Thai is the leading opposition party.

                              As the party’s “chief advisor on participation and innovation”, Panthongtae is pegged to become the party’s nomination for prime ministerial candidate, though she has not yet formally thrown her hat in the ring. Her aunt, Yingluck Shinawatra was the Thai PM before May 2014 when the Army staged another coup and installed the military-run NCPO.

                              However, as the ‘heir’ of Thailand’s controversial political dynasty, Panthongtae aka “Head of the Pheu Thai Family” appears to be keeping her chances of running for the country’s top post alive. If elected, she promised that Pheu Thai would welcome home Thais who fled abroad when the military staged a coup in 2014.

                              Both Yingluck Shinawatra and Thaksin Shinawatra live overseas in political exile. Among the party’s many plans for Thailand, she said they would develop a technology-driven nation capable of competing with the rest of the world.

                              “When the day comes for Pheu Thai to return to power, we will get down to business of tackling the country’s problems.”
                              Politicians are already in unofficial election mode ahead of the next general election, which pundits say Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha could call as early as November this year.

                              Earlier, the Pheu Thai Party announced it would declare their candidate for PM once the House is dissolved, which they predict will happen later this year, prompting an election sometime in early January, according to the Bangkok Post. 35 year old Panthongtae says her goal is to win over the younger generation and convince them to support and join the party, which has won the most seats in every election since 2001.

                              The party has concentrated its efforts on laying the foundation for tackling Thailand’s problems and making plans for the future. The party favours decentralisation of power, better public health services and the use of soft power.

                              According to the party, Thailand’s agricultural industry should embrace the use of artificial intelligence to boost agriculture production, and a digital transformation is necessary to help combat government corruption.
                              If the party wins the upcoming election, they would set a benchmark of boosting the number of international tourists by 80 million within 4 years (that would twice the number of tourists visiting Thailand than the last year of ‘full’ tourism in 2019).

                              Pheu Thai Party’s leader, Cholnan Srikaew, informed supporters that only a large victory of 250 seats or more would allow the party to execute its plans and fulfill its objectives.

                              Despite its popularity, the Pheu Thai Party has been dissolved twice by the military and Thai judicial system.