Thailand: Caretaker premier vows to hold planned poll | Deutsche Welle

Thailand’s caretaker prime minister has said he will see through planned July elections. Earlier, the Constitutional Court ruled that Yingluck Shinawatra was guilty of abuse of power charges and banned her from politics. After the ruling, the cabinet announced that Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan would replace Yingluck, and the caretaker government would press ahead with plans for the July 20 elections. As well as Yingluck, Thailand’s Constitutional Court also implicated nine ministers, but allowed others to retain their posts.

Thailand: Premier Yingluck Ousted After Abuse of Power Ruling | Bloomberg

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from office after the Constitutional Court ruled she abused her position by transferring a top security official, deepening the nation’s political crisis. Yingluck, 46, “violated the constitution,” Judge Udomsak Nitimontree said today in a nationally-televised ruling. She transferred the secretary-general of the National Security Council in 2011 in a process that “indicates an abuse of power,” the judge said. The nine judges in their unanimous decision invalidated Yingluck’s ministerial status, creating doubt about her caretaker government’s ability to continue until an election the Election Commission has agreed to hold July 20. The verdict risks prolonging a crisis that began with anti-government protests last October and has its roots in the removal of Yingluck’s brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in a 2006 coup.

Thailand: Caretaker Government Beseiged | Establishment Post

The caretaker government of Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra continues to maintain its fragile grip on power two weeks after a general election failed to yield sufficient parliamentarians to enable the formation of a new government in Southeast Asia’s second largest economy. The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) and the Dhamma Army continue to protest daily in the streets of the capital, Bangkok.

Thailand: Prime Minister’s speech on rice scheme breach of election law, petitioners tell EC | Bangkok Post

Representatives of two organisations on Thursday filed separate petitions with the Election Commission accusing caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of violating the constitution and election law by making a television address on the government’s rice-pledging scheme on Feb 18. The first petition was filed by Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Constitution Protection Association. The petition stated that Ms Yingluck’s speech broadcast by Television Pool of Thailand on Feb 18 was intended to promote the government and Pheu Thai Party rice-pledging programme. Since Ms Yingluck is the caretaker prime minister, her television address had violated Section 181 of the constitution because she, as a state official, is required to be neutral, it said.

Thailand: No grand bargain amid Thailand political crisis | BBC

The 2 February general election passed without serious violence; most of the valid votes cast were almost certainly for the governing Pheu Thai party. That was the good news for the government. The bad news was that the election was sufficiently disrupted to end with a lower-than-usual turnout, and millions of voters blocked from voting by the anti-government PDRC movement. These elections will have to be run again to fill the minimum of 95% of seats in parliament required by the constitution before a new government can be formed. That includes polling stations where advanced voting was obstructed on 26 January, and the 28 constituencies where protesters blocked any candidates from registering. The re-runs could take many weeks, and will surely be obstructed again. It is a finishing line Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s party is battling to cross, with her opponents determined to stop her; a war of attrition being waged on several fronts.

Thailand: Opposition Seeks to Nullify Weekend Elections | Wall Street Journal

Thailand’s embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday confronted a legal challenge to nullify weekend elections, while a scrapped rice deal dealt a blow to her effort to maintain support from farmers. The opposition Democrat Party’s legal team filed a petition to ask Thailand’s Constitutional Court to nullify Sunday’s election, arguing the poll violated the country’s constitution because it wasn’t completed in one day, and the partial results could influence decisions of voters who would vote late. General elections on Sunday were disrupted in 11% of the electoral districts—mostly in Bangkok and southern Thailand—by street protesters who vowed to remove Ms. Yingluck from office and suspend the election that her party was expected to win. The Election Commission said it would withhold results until all electoral districts that were prevented from voting on Sunday have done so. The chief of the opposition’s legal team, Wiratana Kalayasiri, said the ruling Pheu Thai Party and some ministers have already disclosed publicly how many parliament seats they are likely to get, and that could influence voters. Mr. Wiratana, whose party boycotted the poll, also asked the court to dissolve Ms. Yingluck’s Pheu Thai and ban its executives from politics.

Thailand: Premier Sticks With Feb. 2 Election Plan | Wall Street Journal

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra held fast to her line that fresh elections on Feb. 2 are the best way of resolving the country’s political impasse Friday as mass demonstrations against her government continued for the fifth consecutive day. Speaking to reporters at a defense ministry facility in the northern edges of Bangkok, Ms. Yingluck said she is obliged to ensure the elections go ahead as planned after dissolving parliament last month, and that the country’s security forces are on standby to prevent any violence as the polls approach. “This is the democratic process,” she said. The Thai leader has come under mounting pressure to quit in recent weeks. On Jan. 13, tens of thousands of demonstrators began converging on the capital in a mass protest they call the ‘Bangkok Shutdown,’ to press her to step aside and allow an unelected council to enact a series of reforms to strengthen the country’s system of democratic checks and balances. The protesters’ leader, former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, accuses Ms. Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

Thailand: Thailand Braces for Protests Ahead of February Election | VoA News

The Thai government led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is pressing ahead with nationwide elections on February 2, despite a boycott by the main opposition Democrat Party. Street protests are expected to increase as demonstrators demand the polls be delayed. Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party hopes the February elections return them to office with an even bigger majority. The campaign slogan “Respect My Vote” is a rebuttal to the anti-government demonstrators who succeeded in blocking candidates from registering in 28 districts. Nevertheless, the party is widely expected to regain its majority in parliament, partly because of populist policies that have benefited its backers, especially in northern rural areas.

Thailand: Thai February Polls to Go Ahead Despite Protests | VoA News

Thailand’s election commission says it will go ahead with nationwide elections on February 2, despite worries over security as anti-government protestors vow to shut-down Bangkok starting January 13. The commission held talks with key political parties, including the governing Pheu Thai Party and opposition Democrat Party, which is boycotting the vote, before it made its announcement. While anti-government protesters succeeded in largely blocking candidates registering in southern provinces, a stronghold of the opposition Democrat Party, elsewhere a total of 642 candidates applied to contest the poll. The election commission says the 123 candidates who were unable to register because they were blocked by protesters must petition the Supreme Court to be included on the ballots.

Thailand: Parliament Prepares to Elect First Woman Prime Minister | VoA News

Thailand’s parliament is meeting this week for the first time since the July 3 general elections that resulted in a clear majority for the Pheu Thai Party and its leader, Yingluck Shinawatra. But Ms. Yingluck faces considerable challenges ranging from selection of her Cabinet to implementing the party’s populist election promises.

The 44-year-old’s Pheu Thai Party won 265 seats in the house and joined minor parties to hold a ruling majority of 300 seats in the 500 member House of Representatives.

Thailand: Parliament to Open as Thaksin’s Sister Set for Premiership | San Francisco Chronicle

Thailand’s Parliament will open today for the first time since Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party won a majority last month, paving the way for lawmakers to select her as the country’s first female prime minister.

The Election Commission has certified all but four of 500 winning candidates in the July 3 vote, discarding complaints aiming to thwart the sister of exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra from taking power. Court rulings and a coup have overturned three previous Thaksin election wins since 2005.

“They won a landslide so it will be easier to manage the country,” said Suwat Bumrungchartudom, an analyst at Bangkok- based Bualuang Securities Pcl. “The coalition is quite solid. The question now is whether they can follow through on their commitments before the election.”

Thailand: Red Shirts threaten lawsuit against Election Commission | Pattaya Mail

Key leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the Red Shirts, on Thursday threatened to file suit against the Election Commission (EC) for dereliction of duty if the poll agency fails to endorse top Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan as a member of parliament by the end of this month.

Natthawut Saikua, now a new Pheu Thai party-list MP, announced the UDD stance after visiting fellow Reds, Mr Jatuporn, now being detained on terrorism charges at Bangkok Remand Prison.

Some Red Shirt supporters also turned up at the prison to show their moral support for the detained protest leader. The EC on Wednesday endorsed 94 more MPs-elect, including all elected Red Shirt candidates, except Mr Jatuporn, bringing the total number of endorsed MPs to 496, more than 95 per cent of total 500 seats, to open way to convene the first House session next Monday.

Thailand: Election Commission hoping to meet 30-day deadline | The Nation

The Election Commission would consider whether to endorse Pheu Thai party-list candidates and red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan within the 30-day deadline, EC chairman Apichart Sukhagganond said.

Meanwhile, another red-shirt leader, Thida Thawornseth, said the group would wait and see the EC’s decisions before deciding on future moves. However, Thida said the group’s decision had nothing to do with a request by Pheu Thai’s PM-in-waiting Yingluck Shinawatra for the group not to pressure the electoral body.

“The red shirts are formed by the people. People’s opinions can vary. However, no one should be worried that the red shirts will do any damage,” she said.

Thailand: Abhisit, Yingluck ask Red Shirts not to pressure Election Commission | People’s Daily Online

Thailand’s outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Prime Minister in-waiting Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday asked the members of “Red Shirt” movement not to put pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to endorse all elected Pheu Thai MPs.

The caretaker premier Abhisit said Thursday morning that leaders of the Red Shirt, or the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), should stop putting pressure on the Election Commission (EC).

Thailand: Thai Election Body Certifies Yingluck’s MP Status |

The Election Commission of Thailand on Tuesday certified the MP status of Prime Minister designate Yingluck Shinawatra and Caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thai media reported.

The EC certified 12 more MPs Tuesday. Among the twelve are Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister candidate from fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party, Caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Acting Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban from the elite-back Democrat Party, Thai media reported.

The EC had spent about two weeks after the election day on July 3 to probe into a complain on electoral fraud amid pressure from various political groups, especially the pro-Thaksin “red-shirt” camp, who organized a small rally in front of the EC office last week.

Thailand: Election Commission set to endorse Thai premier-in-waiting | M&C

Thailand’s prime minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to be endorsed next week, a newspaper reported Friday citing an Election Commission official.

Commissioner Sodsri Satayatham, who is in charge of political party affairs, said consideration of Yingluck would be completed Tuesday when the government election body holds its second round of endorsements, the English-language Nation newspaper reported online.

The commission did not qualify Yingluck, who leads the Pheu Thai party, during its first round of endorsements this week because of questions concerning the involvement of banned politicians in her campaign.

Thailand: Election Commission gives first ‘Yellow Card’ to Pheu Thai party winner in Nong Khai | mcot

Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) issued its first ‘yellow card’ to the Pheu Thai Party winning candidate in Nong Khai Constituency 2 while a new election for this constituency will be held on July 31.

Election Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum said the agency commissioners late Thursday agreed unanimously to hold a new election for Constituency 2 in the northeastern province of Nong Khai after suspending endorsement for Somkid Banthaising, winning candidate of the Pheu Thai Party, for alleged election fraud. Mr Somkid allegedly paid pedal taxi drivers to carry people to the election campaign rally and allegedly gave money to prospective voters. Eight witnesses gave statements that reported the same observation, she said.

Thailand: Thai Election Commission Postpones Certifying New Prime Minister | VoANews

Thailand’s Election Commission has delayed certifying the election victory of both Prime Minister-elect Yingluck Shinawatra and the former leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, because it says it is still looking into complaints of irregularities in the vote.

Ms. Yingluck is playing down the decision, but it is just one in a series of challenges she faces before forming a new government.
Voter fraud Thailand’s Election Commission has been investigating complaints of irregularities and fraud in the July 3 vote and postponed endorsing the victory of the 44-year-old Pheu Thai Party leader, Yingluck Shinawatra.

Thailand: Yingluck yet to be endorsed by Thai election commission for fraud complaints |

The Election Commission (EC) of Thailand on Tuesday verified the election result of 358 members of the parliament, or 71.6 percent of the total 500 MPs, but decided not to verify the incoming prime minister (PM) Yingluck Shinawatra and the outgoing PM Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Both Yingluck and Abhisit are facing complaints filed in connection with electoral frauds and EC needs to investigate. Among 358, 249 are from constituency-based system and 109 from party-list.

Some key “Red-shirt” leaders — Jatuporn Prompan, Nutthawut Saikua and Weng Tojirakarn, who are also on Pheu Thai Party’s list, are not yet endorsed by the agency as they also have complaints regarding their qualification.

Thailand: Thai Democrats seek Pheu Thai Party’s dissolution | Bangkok Post

The Democrat Party of Friday initiated legal action seeking the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party, filing a complaint with the Election Commission about the involvement of banned politicians.

Democrat Party’s legal team member Wirat Kallayasiri (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

The outgoing ruling party asked the Election Commission to recommend that the rival Puea Thai Party, which won the July 3 general election, be disbanded on the grounds that banned politicians were involved in its election campaign.