Yingluck Shinawatra

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Thailand: Prime Minister calls for election, opposition to keep up the fight despite martial law | Deutsche Welle

Caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan told reporters in Bangkok on Tuesday that his government had written to Thailand’s electoral commission to propose that a general election be held on August 3. He also said he hoped to “submit a royal decree” for the king’s endorsement and that his government would “engage in reforms before the election,” without providing any details. The army announced in the early hours of Tuesday that it was imposing martial law, but also denied that this amounted to a military coup. In a televised statement, the head of the army, General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the move was designed to head off a possible new violent confrontation between supporters of the opposition and the government. “There are some groups with bad intentions to create unrest, and threatening to use weapons on the people,” he said. “I’m asking all those activist groups to stop all activities and cooperate with us in seeking a way out of this crisis,” he added. Earlier, the prime minister had said he supported the army’s decision to impose martial law in an effort to restore order.

Full Article: Thai PM calls for election, opposition to keep up the fight despite martial law | News | DW.DE | 20.05.2014.

Thailand: Meeting to set Thailand election date delayed | Al Jazeera

A meeting between Thailand’s interim prime minister and the Election Commission to fix a date for polls has been postponed due to security concern over the venue for the discussions. “The government has asked to delay the meeting due to security concerns over the venue location,” Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn told reporters on Wednesday. “We will meet with the government tomorrow at a different venue.” Somchai did not elaborate but the talks were planned at a government complex in north Bangkok near an anti-government protest site occupied by demonstrators. Government spokesmen were not available for comment. Fixing the date for the polls is the latest round in a six-month political crisis punctuated with sporadic violence in the streets of Bangkok, leaving 25 people dead and threatening to tip the economy into recession, even raising fears of civil war. While the government sees the polls as the best way out of the country’s protracted crisis, the option has been met with staunch rejection by opponents. Protesters, who have set up base inside a wing of the largely abandoned government headquarters, are holding a news conferences for the international media from there, in a sign of defiance to the wounded administration, the AFP news agency reported.

Full Article: Meeting to set Thailand election date delayed - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English.

Thailand: Interim Prime Minister to meet election body as coup fears mount | Reuters

Thailand’s interim prime minister will meet the Election Commission on Wednesday, in the hope of fixing a date for polls that the government sees as the best way out of the country’s protracted crisis but its opponents will probably reject. Six months of anti-government protests have brought sporadic violence to the streets of Bangkok, threatened to tip the economy into recession and even raised fears of civil war. The crisis is the latest phase in nearly 10 years of hostility between the royalist establishment and Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications billionaire who won huge support among the rural and urban poor but angered the Bangkok-based elite and was deposed by the military in a 2006 coup.

Full Article: Interim Thai PM to meet election body as coup fears mount | Reuters.

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.

Full Article: Thailand's caretaker premier vows to hold planned poll | News | DW.DE | 07.05.2014.

Thailand: Yingluck Court Ruling Could Leave Thailand’s Next Elections in Doubt | Wall Street Journal

The plot is thickening in Thailand’s political drama, with elections penciled in for July 20 now in doubt if the country’s Constitutional Court removes Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Wednesday for allegedly overstepping her authority by removing a top civil servant. The country’s Election Commission Tuesday said it has held back from filing a draft decree on calling the elections to Cabinet, and is apparently waiting to see how the situation will unfold. The court could either remove Ms. Yingluck alone, which paves the way for one of her deputies to become prime minister. Or it could remove her entire Cabinet, leading to a political vacuum that might enable the Senate to appoint an interim prime minister more acceptable to the country’s royalist establishment, members of which have been campaigning for Ms. Yingluck’s removal on the streets of Bangkok for over six months. Either way, the timing of fresh elections will be in doubt, assuming they are held at all – and that’s something that could further enrage Ms. Yingluck’s supporters in the populist Red Shirt movement. The group’s leaders are calling for demonstrations Wednesday evening and are planning a large rally for Saturday.

Full Article: Yingluck Court Ruling Could Leave Thailand’s Next Elections in Doubt - Southeast Asia Real Time - WSJ.

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.

Full Article: Thai Premier Yingluck Ousted After Abuse of Power Ruling - Bloomberg.

Thailand: Prime Minister, Election Commission agree new vote in July, opposition defiant | Reuters

Thailand’s Election Commission and the prime minister agreed on Wednesday to hold a general election in July, but anti-government protesters who disrupted a vote in February said they still wanted to see electoral reforms before a new poll. The protesters have been trying to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra since November, part of a long-running crisis that broadly pits Bangkok’s middle class and royalist establishment against the mainly poor, rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. “The prime minister and the Election Commission agree on a July 20 election,” Puchong Nutrawong, secretary-general of the commission, told reporters after a meeting with Yingluck. He said the commission would ask the government to issue a royal decree and get the king’s endorsement for the vote. The cabinet, which must also sign off on an election, would probably consider the decree next week, he said.

Full Article: Thai PM, Election Commission agree new vote in July, opposition defiant | Reuters.

Thailand: Fresh Thai Election No Closer Despite Multi-Party Meeting | Reuters

Thailand’s political impasse looked no closer to a solution on Tuesday despite a rare meeting of political parties and the Election Commission to discuss how and when a new vote should be held after a general election in February was declared void. About 58 parties including the ruling Puea Thai Party met in Bangkok to discuss a rerun, after months of anti-government protests that have crippled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s caretaker government and the economy. However, the main opposition Democrat Party did not attend, citing unspecified security concerns, and the parties did not settle on a date for a new election. The failure of the talks highlights the political division between the mostly poor, rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, and the largely middle- and upper-class backers of the royalist establishment.

Full Article: Fresh Thai Election No Closer Despite Multi-Party Meeting.

Thailand: Court could declare February election void | The Malay Mail

Thailand’s Constitutional Court was due to rule today on the validity of a general election held in February that was disrupted by protesters, with speculation growing it could void the vote, adding to the political turmoil in the country. The protests are the latest chapter in an eight-year crisis that pits Bangkok’s middle class and royalist establishment against supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the army in 2006 and lives in exile to avoid a jail term for graft. Now in their fifth month, the protesters have shut government offices and at times blocked major thoroughfares in Bangkok to try to force Yingluck out. Twenty-three people have died and hundreds have been injured in the violence. The court complaint was brought by a law lecturer who argues among other things that the Feb. 2 election was unconstitutional because voting did not take place in all areas on the same day.

Full Article: Thai court could declare February election void | World | The Malay Mail Online.

Thailand: Voting in re-run elections peaceful as protesters regroup in central Bangkok | Australia Network News

Thailand has held elections in five provinces where voting was disrupted in last month’s poll by anti-government protesters trying to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. There were no reports of violence at Sunday’s vote, although gunfire and at least two explosions have raised tension in Bangkok before the Feb 2 polls. Election re-runs planned for April in other provinces have been suspended pending a court decision on procedures. Voting was disrupted in 18 per cent of constituencies, 69 out of 375 nationwide, the Election Commission said, affecting 18 of 77 provinces. The demonstrators, who have blocked intersections in the capital for weeks, say Prime Minister Yingluck must resign and make way for an appointed “people’s council” to overhaul a political system they say has been taken hostage by her billionaire brother and former premier, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Full Article: Thai voting in re-run elections peaceful as protesters regroup in central Bangkok - Australia Network News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Thailand: Election body frees some state funds to pay rice farmers | The Star

Thailand’s Election Commission gave the government approval on Tuesday to use a small sum from the central budget, 712 million baht ($22 million), to pay rice farmers who have been waiting months for payment from a state buying programme. The money will go a little way towards appeasing farmers protesting in Bangkok and their home provinces, but it is only a fraction of the 130 billion baht the government is estimated to owe nearly a million growers. “The Election Commission has approved a 712 million baht fund to help farmers, as requested by the government,” Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, an election official, said in a message posted on his Facebook page. The government is now looking for additional funds.

Full Article: Thai election body frees some state funds to pay rice farmers - World | The Star Online.

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.

Full Article: Thailand Caretaker Government Beseiged.

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.

Full Article: PM's speech on rice scheme breach of election law, petitioners tell EC | Bangkok Post: breakingnews.

Thailand: A country without a government | Deutsche Welle

Since the February 2 elections, Thailand’s interim premier has lacked the authority to rule the Southeast Asian country. Four people have recently died in riots. The government is running out of options. Government buildings in Thailand’s capital Bangkok lie abandoned. For months, they have been besieged by opposition protestors who have forced the government to deal with the day-to-day operations at other facilities. Although the government of interim Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has exercised utmost restraint so far, it changed its strategy last Friday, February 14, when it ordered riot police to move against opposition barricades and demonstrators in an attempt to clear the roads leading to ministries and other administrative buildings.

Full Article: Thailand: A country without a government | Asia | DW.DE | 18.02.2014.

Thailand: Post-election crisis could prolong political uncertainty in Thailand | Global Times

The post-election crisis in Thailand could spawn a political uncertainty that could last for weeks, if not months, with everyone guessing when a new government could come into being. Under normal circumstances, a prime minister can be named and a government formed within weeks after a nationwide parliamentary election. But given the polarization in the country’s political spectrum with Yingluck Shinawatra’s caretaker government on one side and the anti-government protesters on the other side, it is almost predictable that the political impasse could stretch to a much longer time, according to political analysts here. Both sides are not willing to compromise on their respective positions and a protracted legal battle looms, a situation that has baffled, it not exasperated, the cross-section of the Thai society.

Full Article: News Analysis: Post-election crisis could prolong political uncertainty in Thailand - WORLD - Globaltimes.cn.

Thailand: Court rejects Thailand opposition demand to annul election | Malaysia Sun

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has declined to consider a petition by the opposition to annul the February 2 vote citing insufficient grounds. Wiratana Kalayasiri, opposition Democrat Party lawyer, had argued that the poll violated the constitution for several reasons, including that it was not completed in one day. The government blamed the delay on the opposition blocking polling stations. Thailand has been in a political crisis since mass anti-government protests kicked off in November. They were sparked by a controversial amnesty bill which critics said would allow former leader Thaksin Shinawatra to return to Thailand without serving time in jail for his corruption conviction. The opposition’s legal challenge was based on the failure to hold the entire election on the same day. “This case is over,” said Kalayasiri. “But if the government does anything wrong again, we will make another complaint.”

Full Article: Court rejects Thailand opposition demand to annul election | Malaysia Sun.

Thailand: Amid political turmoil, Thailand’s election body takes centre stage | The Star

As Thailand tries to resolve a debilitating political stalemate, five unelected officials have been armed with the power to over-rule its government in key areas and chart a route out of the mess left by this month’s disrupted election. For three-and-a-half months, protesters, mostly from Bangkok and the south, have been seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and rid the country of the influence of her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. At the general election on February 2, the protesters disrupted polling or blocked candidates from registering in almost 70 of the 375 voting constituencies, leaving the new House of Representatives without the required quorum of members. That means Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party government will continue on a caretaker basis, despite almost certainly winning a majority, until elections are held to fill the remaining seats.

Full Article: Amid political turmoil, Thailand's election body takes centre stage - World | The Star Online.

Thailand: Court Rejects Opposition Bid to Throw Out Elections | Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government won a key victory Wednesday in the uphill struggle to form a new administration when the Constitutional Court rejected a bid by the opposition to annul the Feb. 2 election. The ruling clears the way to hold new polls in districts that were unable to vote because of disruption by opposition boycotts and protests. The independent Election Commission has set makeup voting to be held on April 20 and April 27 in those districts. However, the commission has yet to seek a way to hold voting for 28 electoral districts that haven’t even been able to even register candidates because of opposition protests—the scenario that has left the country short of the 95% threshold of the total 500 seats required to seat a new Parliament. The opposition Democrat Party’s application to the court had maintained, among other things, that the election poll wasn’t constitutional because voting wasn’t conducted nationwide on the same day. The chief of the Democrat Party’s legal team, Wiratana Kalayasri, said that he “respects the court’s opinion” but said that he would petition the court again “should the government make any more mistakes.”

Full Article: Thailand to Complete Feb. 2 Election - WSJ.com.

Thailand: Voting Set for Areas Previously Blocked | Wall Street Journal

Thailand’s Election Commission said it would hold elections in April in areas where voting was disrupted by antigovernment protesters, likely delaying a new government from being formed until at least May to tackle high-stakes matters. The makeup voting will be on April 20 and April 27 in parts of the capital and more than a dozen provinces after protester blockades there prompted election officials to call off the Feb. 2 polls, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, an election commissioner, said at a news conference on Tuesday. Thailand’s economic growth in 2014 will be affected by how long the protests go on and how long it takes to form a new government, a senior economist at the World Bank’s Bangkok office said Tuesday. The Bank of Thailand expects the country’s economy to expand 3%, down from the 4% target the bank had forecast in November.

Full Article: Thailand Sets Voting for Areas Previously Blocked - WSJ.com.

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.

Full Article: BBC News - No grand bargain amid Thailand political crisis.