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  1. #201
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    Bangkok Post : Political pledges too good to be true

    Opinion > OpinionPoliticians can make as many pledges as they wish about the way they will, or will not, conduct themselves in their election campaigns, but we would be making fools of ourselves if we truly believe all their vows, or that any of them will be fulfilled.

    Was the drama for real? Or was it stage-managed to make fools of us?

    The grand drama took place on Wednesday at the parliament and was attended by newly appointed Senate Speaker General Thiradet Meepien, Election Commission secretary-general Sutthipol Thaweechaikarn, former House speaker Uthai Pimchaichon, Peace Study and Development Centre director Gothom Arya, representatives from 17 political parties, diplomats, representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, Asia Foundation and religious groups.

    The highlight of this unprecedented event was that the representatives of 17 political parties, including the Democrat and Puea Thai parties but noticeably not Bhumjaithai and Chart Thai Pattana, signed and ratified an electoral code of conduct to make sure that the coming election will be free and fair.

    Led by Mr Uthai in the oath-taking ceremony, the politicians vowed that they would refrain from vote buying, from use of intimidation and violence, foul language and making false accusations against one another during the election campaign.

    They also agreed not to refer to the monarchy in their electioneering.

    EC secretary-general Sutthipol said he expects more violence as the election picks up momentum. Hence, it was necessary for the election watchdog to make sure that the election is free and fair and transparent.

    Mr Sutthipol couldn’t be more accurate about his prediction of violence. One day earlier, on Tuesday night, in Samut Prakan, a gunman opened fire with an M16 assault rifle at outgoing Puea Thai MP Pracha Prasopdee --only hours after the prime minister dissolved the House and called a general election.

    It didn't take long for what seems to be the first election-related assassination attempt. Fortunately, he escaped death but was still wounded.

    The violent incident has alarmed several election candidates, some have already sought police protection or are seriously considering getting security protection.

    Because of the high political stakes involved, it is widely predicted that the July 3 general election will be the fiercest ever – possibly the most violent ever. As usual, police have been put on red alert and ordered to track down and keep a close watch on gunmen for hire, thugs whose services are often employed at election time to intimidate or to get rid of rival election canvassers.

    As for the vows made by representatives of the 17 political parties -- although not legally binding they should be morally binding, but I feel that the EC and the Peace Study and Development Centre have demanded too much from them. It's most unlikely the politicians will live up to all of them.

    One pledge is enough – that they all refrain from vote buying, the real devil in any election.

    It does not matter if rival parties or individual candidates engage in fierce mud-slinging, even with the use of the most vulgar language, because that will not kill another candidate. Nor will it have much effect in influencing the way the voters cast their ballots.

    That is totally different from the power that money wields, power that can bend even the strongest steel – not to mention the hearts and minds of the voters, which can be easily melted and tempted.

    The parties and their candidates can make as many vows as they wish, but whether they will be taken seriously is another matter. It is also doubtful that they themselves will take them seriously. After all, since when have politicians become so moral that they follow morally binding vows?

    I am not totally surprised that Bhumjaithai and Chart Thai Pattana were not represented at Wednesday’s little drama.

    At least their conspicuous absence shows, in some form, their openness – and clear knowledge that none of the vows, except the one about the monarchy, will ever be realised anyway.


    Writer: Veera Prateepchaikul
    Position: Former Editor

  2. #202
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    I suppose part of my point is that if instead of showing pics of men in smiling men in suits at official functions, the media (which includes forums like this) educated people about evidence of politicians wrongdoings, it may cause a real change.

    Things like the people who had 'how to vote for Newin cards' stapled to money and were found guilty of vote buying. The charges against Chuwit for having underage girls in his brothels and some of the nasty stuff about Sanoh and Chav.

    Instead we have this discussion that all pot, kettle, black and conspiracy theories with little evidence.

  3. #203
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    Largely agree - though, again it depends on pinning down the otherwise libellous details e.g. post court-ruling.

    Right with you on the pot-kettle exchanges - I've never seen value in them..... though concentration on one outfit's flaws and felonies does tend to invite inclusion of an opposing outfit's equivalents for the sake of (almost my favourite word) context. Anything else seems to belong in the days of black hat/white hat Hollywood B-movies.

    On the conspiracy theories aspect, both here and elsewhere, I try to stand back from pronouncing when it's clear (at least to me) that almost any theory - in the absence of enough compelling proof or of even hard/verifiable evidence - is virtually as good/worthwhile as another. (See Amnesty International and Robert Amsterdam for an example). Some seem to need their certainties and will reach their desired conclusion no matter what inconvenient/contradictory evidence calls those certainties into question. It's a familiar process - first select your dots and then just join those up..... while ignoring the rest.

    Afterthought: On the matter of "cause a real change", there isn't much evidence to suggest that Thai voters a] are surprised by what's revealed - if/when it's revealed, and b] see it making any real difference. I'm not so negative (as some here) to view this as a permanent, immutable state of affairs but I do see it taking a considerable time before it changes. As others have pointed out so often, when your early days include seeing how it's the norm for your teacher to take bribes..... then how good are the prospects any time soon for breaking out of that sense that such goings-on are the norm from bottom to top?

    Sorry - yet another edit. Just spotted this tweet from The Notion's editor that relates directly to my last point:

    tulsathit tulsathit

    Abac poll: "Tea money" spent by parents this new school semester can b as high as Bt5 bn.

    4 hours ago
    Last edited by SteveCM; 12-05-2011 at 05:27 PM.

  4. #204
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    Bhum Jai Thai to field no more than 190 candidates

    12 May 2011

    By The Nation


    The Bhum Jai Thai Party plans to nominate no more than 190 electoral candidates to vie for 375 House seats up for grabs via the July 3 direct vote, party spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said on Thursday.

    "The party's nominations will be based the popularity of aspiring candidates to their constituents," he said.

    For the proportionate vote, the party will nominate a full list of 125 candidates, he said.

    The party's candidates will include 25 former MPs defected from other parties, he said, voicing optimism that his party might emerge a third largest party.

    The two major parties, Democrat and Pheu Thai, have been projected to secure no more than 200 House seats, allowing Bhum Jai Thai and other parties to grab the remaining 300 seats, he said.

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    It's been reported the Jatuporn has been sent back to jail, apparently with the house dissolution he no longer has immunity.

    What is Jatuporn's background? Wasn't he involved/accused of some nasty stuff in the South to do with kicking ppl off their land and taking it?

  6. #206
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    ^
    Maybe this? http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asi...ml#post1324100 (FYI : Jatuporn Promphan)

    Not sure if it entirely matches your description.....

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    http://www.tannetwork.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1043693



    Two Major Parties Unveil Election Candidates


    UPDATE : 12 May 2011

    Two major political parties, Democrat and Pheu Thai, today introduce new members who will run in the upcoming election.

    Pheu Thai introduced eight new members, including former party-list MP from Ruamchat Pattana Party Wirat Rattanaset, ex-Democrat MP for Chonburi Atthapol Wongprayoon and ex-Bhum Jai Thai MP for Nakhon Sawan Nukul Saengsiri.

    The party stated that these former MPs are confident the group is able to put its policies into action and steeer the country through various crises.


    Meanwhile, Democrat secretary general Suthep Thaungsuban unveiled a group of ten former senior police officers, including former commander of the Provincial Police Bureau 8, Police Lieutenant General Pithak Jarusombat, who is also the elder brother of Puea Pandin co-founder Pinij Jarusombat, and former secretary general of the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand, Police Major General Surin Palare.

    Pithak will contest the election in Chanchoengsao's Constituency 4 and Surin will vie for the MP seat in Songkhla's Constituency 8.

    Suthep said he believed these former police officers will become good MPs.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar

  8. #208
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    New Politics Party to contest the poll in 21 provinces

    12 May 2011

    The New Politics Party has decided to contest the July 3 vote by fielding candidates in 21 provinces, party leader Somsak Kosaisuk said on Thursday in defiance of the "no vote" campaign spearheaded by the People's Alliance for Democracy, the party's precursor movement.

    "The conflict has happened from outside but the party is obligated to comply with the election law by fielding candidates," he said.

    Somsak said the PAD had no justification to force the party to accept its campaign to boycott the vote, arguing he deems it undemocratic not to sanction the vote which is a democratic means.


    The Nation

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buksida View Post
    I've always wondered why the govt. doesn't come up with comprehensive populist programs funded by seized assets?
    How come you think they haven't done that already... Well the government have seized the assets and has come up with populist programs. Previously pre 2006 labeled as buying votes. And tax office (in any country) regards it is their money anyway from day one when court did the ruling.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by LooseBowels View Post
    Thing is that dem mp's are up for re-election when some are guilty of, and others complicit in mass murder.

    Guys on tv cooking shows get banned

    PT should consider not contesting an election until the guilty are behind bars.
    It is dangerous for people on cooking show, especially if there is a gas cooker. Well it might blow up and damage many people. National security threat.

  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    The concerted establishment squeal was exactly the same when Thaksin was PM- that his populism would send the country broke. Unfortunately for them, the actual economic numbers during his tenure indicated the opposite- actually they were very good indeed. Thailand has become more indebted since the coup. I would be interested to know who the authors unnamed Thai academic colleague is, and why he is unnamed too.
    Following up but trust there is no true answer since history remains the same and facts are facts.

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    Will Pheu Thai sink or swim with Jatuporn?

    ANALYSIS


    Will Pheu Thai sink or swim with Jatuporn?

    By Somroutai Sapsomboon
    Jintana Panyaarvudh
    The Nation
    Published on May 13, 2011


    Omitting the now jailed red-shirt leader from the party list could alienate a huge section of voters in upcoming election

    The next five days will be long for Jatuporn Prompan. To Thaksin Shinawatra and anyone else who has to decide the election future of the red-shirt leader and hero, time will fly. Long dubbed a loose cannon of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, Jatuporn was put behind bars yesterday after the Criminal Court revoked his bail, and that means a potentially explosive dilemma for everyone concerned.

    Thaksin has been thinking for a long time about whether he should keep red-shirt protesters as his mass support while his Pheu Thai Party campaigns in the upcoming election. He earlier tried to distance the party from the red shirts as he feared the movement might affect votes.

    Now Jatuporn has been put in jail, Thaksin is at a crossroads.

    If Jatuporn, who is still eligible to contest in the election despite being in prison, remains a candidate, it means Thaksin decided to keep the red shirts with his party.

    As a red-shirt hero, Jatuporn gets huge support from red shirts. They could turn furious if Jatuporn is not among the 125 Pheu Thai party-list candidates.

    The absence of Jatuporn from the list would affect the party's election results. It would be like butchering the donkey after it finished its job on the mill. Jatuporn has played a major role during the red-shirt demonstrations. Red shirts could reject Thaksin and Pheu Thai and choose to vote "No".

    Most red shirts were outraged when they learned that Jatuporn and Nisit Sinthuprai had had their bail revoked due to a speech on April 10 that was deemed by the authorities as defamatory to the monarchy.

    Their responses were mixed, however, on what repercussions it would have on the red-shirt movement and the Pheu Thai Party. Some believed it would make red shirts even more determined to fight against what they perceive as injustice, while others see the detention as weakening the movement and increasing fear of making certain political speeches.

    "Every single pain will be transformed into power," declared red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua.

    Another leader, Korkaew Pikulthong, thought it could rally more people to vote for Pheu Thai and make the red shirts more resolved.

    "There will be more people coming out on May 19," said Korkaew, referring to the first anniversary of the end of the bloody crackdown in Bangkok. "And more may vote for the Pheu Thai Party."

    Although the red shirts will try to turn the pain into power, the revocation of bail for their hero could strengthen disloyalty accusations against the red shirts and Pheu Thai. Red shirts would be forced to be more cautious in their next rallies because if any violence takes place the election might never happen. That could be a negative for the Pheu Thai Party as well. If the election isn't held, how they can bring Thaksin home?

    Moreover, voters who are so far undecided could turn against Pheu Thai following the accusations.

    The Pheu Thai Party is expected to announce its party-list candidates on Monday. The timing is interesting. The first day of party-list registration will be on May 19, the same day the red shirts will hold a one-year commemoration of the Bangkok crackdown. On the day, the reds might be happy if Jatuporn was on the party list - or sad if he was dumped from the party.

    With long government holidays, Jatuporn will have to stay in jail for five days (May 13-17) before possibly getting bail again. His lawyer submitted another bail request yesterday, but it was rejected by the court.

    Jatuporn can request bail again, but his freedom could return anyway when the first parliamentary session starts on August 2, the date expected by the Election Commission.

    At the end of the day, Thaksin would never leave Jatuporn behind bars alone, but would rather embrace him as one of the main MP candidates under the Pheu Thai banner in the upcoming election.

  13. #213
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    PM, Democrat ministers may take leave to campaign

    PM, Democrat ministers may take leave to campaign

    By Piyanart Srivalo
    The Nation
    Published on May 13, 2011

    The prime minister and Cabinet members who belong to the Democrat Party might go on leave to campaign for the upcoming election, a government source said.

    After the Election Commission advised Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva against campaigning during working hours, many ministers, especially Democrats, voiced concerns about not having enough time to woo voters.

    Meanwhile, Abhisit was chauffeured to Government House in his own car yesterday instead of the government-issue bulletproof vehicle.

    Government Spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the prime minister's security was not compromised, though he side-stepped a question about whether Abhisit's car was armoured. The PM changed his vehicle after the EC advised him against using the government-issue car while campaigning.

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    SD, why do you never quote independent media? TAN and Nation are biased to the level being hell bent...

    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    Will Pheu Thai sink or swim with Jatuporn?

    ANALYSIS


    Will Pheu Thai sink or swim with Jatuporn?

    By Somroutai Sapsomboon
    Jintana Panyaarvudh
    The Nation
    Published on May 13, 2011


    Omitting the now jailed red-shirt leader from the party list could alienate a huge section of voters in upcoming election

    The next five days will be long for Jatuporn Prompan. To Thaksin Shinawatra and anyone else who has to decide the election future of the red-shirt leader and hero, time will fly. Long dubbed a loose cannon of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, Jatuporn was put behind bars yesterday after the Criminal Court revoked his bail, and that means a potentially explosive dilemma for everyone concerned.

    Thaksin has been thinking for a long time about whether he should keep red-shirt protesters as his mass support while his Pheu Thai Party campaigns in the upcoming election. He earlier tried to distance the party from the red shirts as he feared the movement might affect votes.

    Now Jatuporn has been put in jail, Thaksin is at a crossroads.

    If Jatuporn, who is still eligible to contest in the election despite being in prison, remains a candidate, it means Thaksin decided to keep the red shirts with his party.

    As a red-shirt hero, Jatuporn gets huge support from red shirts. They could turn furious if Jatuporn is not among the 125 Pheu Thai party-list candidates.

    The absence of Jatuporn from the list would affect the party's election results. It would be like butchering the donkey after it finished its job on the mill. Jatuporn has played a major role during the red-shirt demonstrations. Red shirts could reject Thaksin and Pheu Thai and choose to vote "No".

    Most red shirts were outraged when they learned that Jatuporn and Nisit Sinthuprai had had their bail revoked due to a speech on April 10 that was deemed by the authorities as defamatory to the monarchy.

    Their responses were mixed, however, on what repercussions it would have on the red-shirt movement and the Pheu Thai Party. Some believed it would make red shirts even more determined to fight against what they perceive as injustice, while others see the detention as weakening the movement and increasing fear of making certain political speeches.

    "Every single pain will be transformed into power," declared red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua.

    Another leader, Korkaew Pikulthong, thought it could rally more people to vote for Pheu Thai and make the red shirts more resolved.

    "There will be more people coming out on May 19," said Korkaew, referring to the first anniversary of the end of the bloody crackdown in Bangkok. "And more may vote for the Pheu Thai Party."

    Although the red shirts will try to turn the pain into power, the revocation of bail for their hero could strengthen disloyalty accusations against the red shirts and Pheu Thai. Red shirts would be forced to be more cautious in their next rallies because if any violence takes place the election might never happen. That could be a negative for the Pheu Thai Party as well. If the election isn't held, how they can bring Thaksin home?

    Moreover, voters who are so far undecided could turn against Pheu Thai following the accusations.

    The Pheu Thai Party is expected to announce its party-list candidates on Monday. The timing is interesting. The first day of party-list registration will be on May 19, the same day the red shirts will hold a one-year commemoration of the Bangkok crackdown. On the day, the reds might be happy if Jatuporn was on the party list - or sad if he was dumped from the party.

    With long government holidays, Jatuporn will have to stay in jail for five days (May 13-17) before possibly getting bail again. His lawyer submitted another bail request yesterday, but it was rejected by the court.

    Jatuporn can request bail again, but his freedom could return anyway when the first parliamentary session starts on August 2, the date expected by the Election Commission.

    At the end of the day, Thaksin would never leave Jatuporn behind bars alone, but would rather embrace him as one of the main MP candidates under the Pheu Thai banner in the upcoming election.

  15. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveCM View Post
    New Politics Party to contest the poll in 21 provinces

    12 May 2011

    The New Politics Party has decided to contest the July 3 vote by fielding candidates in 21 provinces, party leader Somsak Kosaisuk said on Thursday in defiance of the "no vote" campaign spearheaded by the People's Alliance for Democracy, the party's precursor movement.

    "The conflict has happened from outside but the party is obligated to comply with the election law by fielding candidates," he said.

    Somsak said the PAD had no justification to force the party to accept its campaign to boycott the vote, arguing he deems it undemocratic not to sanction the vote which is a democratic means.


    The Nation
    NPP defies PAD,will contest election

    NPP defies PAD,will contest election

    By The Nation
    Published on May 13, 2011

    <snip>

    He said party executives would run under the party list to compete for proportionate votes while aspiring candidates would vie for direct votes in the North, West, Northeast, South and Central regions.

    Key constituencies include Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Surat Thani and Phuket.

    While Somsak was speaking at the press conference, about 30 party members and PAD supporters held a rally opposing his decision to contest the election.

    The opponents threatened to launch a signature campaign to impeach him from office. To remove him, a minimum of 1,500 signatures from 15,000 party members would be required.

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    Democrats unveil fresh MP hopefuls at Thammasat

    NEW FACES


    Democrats unveil fresh MP hopefuls at Thammasat

    By Kornchanok Raksaseri
    The Nation
    Published on May 13, 2011

    Emphasising the value of education, the Democrat Party yesterday unveiled new faces among its MP candidates.

    In an event at Thammasat University's auditorium, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva joined in the introduction of 23 new MP candidates, stressing the part education had played in their development.

    For the first time, the event was broadcast live through social medium Facebook.

    "Without the opportunities for education, these 23 people would never be standing here," he said.

    He went on to refer to 15 years of free education as well as education reform, listing policies for special loans for education and for business starters the party will propose.

    The new MP candidates include those with well-known names such as Chitpas Bhirombhakdi and Tamkhun Jitt-itsara, or young people linked with Democrat MPs such as Nutt Bantadtan, son of party adviser Banyat, and Boonthida Somchai, daughter of former social development and human resources minister Issara. The party is also promoting new MP candidates from grassroots families.

    They were recruited through the "Future Thai Leader Project", which required them to submit applications through social media and join in the party's training courses and activities.

    Catraphet Kankaew, a 31-year-old intense social-media user and critic of Thai politics, will be fielded as an MP candidate in Phetchabun. He is the youngest son of a teacher and housewife in the province. After the death of his father, he worked and sponsored himself until he earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Ramkhamhaeng University.

    "I want to solve the problems of poverty and disparity. I know of problems in local areas that come from the blunders of current politicians. The poor who rent apartments still have to pay Bt15 or Bt20 [to the landlord] for a unit of electricity. The 'free electricity' programme for light-users does not benefit them. I will push policies and ideas to eradicate these problems," he said.

    Maythika Kongpinitborvorn, 33, will contest from Buri Ram constituency 6.

    "The community is so quiet and deserted as people leave to work in the city. I want to make them realise that our home can be an abundant source of income as we have many good things of our own," she said.

    She quit her job as a marketing officer to run in the election although she realises Buri Ram has been dubbed the vote base of Newin Chidchob's Bhum Jai Thai Party.

    Akanat Promphan, son of Srisakul, wife of party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban, said he has a fresh way of thinking as a member of the new generation. "These days, we have to think in more constructive ways, not focus on conflict," he said.

    Earlier in the day, Suthep unveiled 10 new MP candidates who come from police ranks, including Pol Lt-General Pitak Charusombat, brother of veteran politician Pinij, and Pol Colonel Wanchai Piumsombun, cousin of Rak Santi Party's key member Purachai.

    Pol Lieutenant Pramet Mahasiratanaroj, a 44-year-old officer, who will run in Samut Prakan, said being a newcomer means he has no previous flaws on his record to make people unhappy. Being a local, he was inspired by the victory of people with low education who had fought and exposed corruption in the Klong Dan dam project.

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    Sports stars eye political glory

    NATIONAL ELECTION


    Sports stars eye political glory

    By The Nation
    Published on May 13, 2011

    Celebrities and sports heroes are being paraded by many political parties in the hope that their star appeal would help boost their popularity in the July poll.

    Many former boxing champions have joined the Chart Thai Pattana Party, whose leader Chumpol Silapa-archa is the minister of tourism and sports.

    "From now on, we don't need bullet-proof vehicles like other parties, as we have at least four former boxing champions with us," he said.

    The 1996 Olympic gold medallist boxer, Somrak Khamsing, would contest a seat from Khon Kaen under the banner of the party. Former world boxing champion Khaosai Galaxy would run in his home province of Phetchabun.

    Thai kick boxing champion Charoenthong Kietbanchong would seek to represent Nakhon Si Thammarat, and 2000 Olympic gold medallist boxer Manas Boonchamnong would also be fielded by the Chart Thai Pattana Party.

    Somrak said he believes his boxing fans and voters still remembered him even though he quit the profession a long time ago.

    Khaosai, who is now a television star, said he has been interested in politics for a long time and is now working on a PhD in political science.

    "I know not only boxing but also politics," he said.

    Chumpol said his party would find some beauty queens to run in the election.

    "Look at our party list, there will be plenty of good quality candidates," he said.

    Former soccer star Piyapong Piew-on, former tennis champion Paradorn Srichaphan and the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist of women's taekwondo Yaowapa Boorapolchai have said they would run in the race for the Chart Pattana Puea Paendin Party.

    Chuwit Kamolvisit, leader of the Rak Prathet Thai (Love Thailand) Party, revealed 10 unpopular candidates on his party list.

    Chuwit brought with him to his press conference a Mercedes-Benz steering wheel and a white bull terrier as symbols of good direction and honesty.

    The ruling Democrat Party also showed some faces whom it claimed are from the new generation, while the rival Pheu Thai Party introduced eight candidates who had defected from other parties.

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    Bangkok Post : A bumpy road to polls, but let's trudge on

    A bumpy road to polls, but let's trudge on
    Finally Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has dissolved the House and the general election has been scheduled for July 3. The next 50 days will be a period of tests and trials for Thai democracy, with an outcome that could send the nation spinning into another spiral of conflict and uncertainty.

    But at least we are moving along the democratic path, although it is unfortunate that this comes at the high cost of many deaths and lost opportunities. Last year's violent crackdown has stained the government's hands with blood and left many questions unanswered.

    The impartial report by Human Rights Watch: "Descent into Chaos, Thailand's 2010 Red Shirt Protests and the Government Crackdown", has been the only comprehensive report on the violent events of April 10 and May 10-19. The report implicates both sides but is more damaging for the government as the testimonies pointed to "excessive" and "unnecessary" use of "lethal" force on the part of the government, leading to 91 deaths and many injuries.

    As the first anniversary of the crackdown approaches, the government is still in a state of denial. However, Mr Abhisit will have to live with this legacy, no matter how much he may like to change it. And he will attempt to do so by using the general election to firm up his legitimacy.

    The question of this government's legitimacy has been a sore point in Mr Abhisit's mind and that of his political enemies from the beginning. The opposition Pheu Thai Party and the red shirts have always felt that the government was "stolen" from them with the dissolution of Pheu Thai's predecessor, the then ruling People's Power Party, with the heavy-handed interference of the military. Mr Abhisit probably would rather be remembered as a "democrat" than a puppet prime minister of the military leading a government set up in the military barracks. This, coupled with Mr Abhisit's desire to wash off the bloodstains, means an election win is crucial.

    If he wins the election outright (unlikely) or can form a coalition government (more likely) on his own without any meddling from the military (least likely), then he can claim legitimacy to stay in power for the next 4 years with time to rewrite his legacy.

    The need to please the present coalition partners and the military explains the decision of the last two cabinet meetings which doled out all the meat to everyone as insurance for keeping all parties on board.

    The other insurance is in the use of the "politics of fear". Despite assurances from Thaksin Shinawatra of not seeking revenge, few believe him. Ruling coalition politicians _ especially those who backstabbed Thaksin _ the military and bureaucrats who pushed over Thaksin's allies and admirers, and businessmen who switched support from Thaksin to those in power at present, are all nervous about Pheu Thai's imminent win at the polls and Thaksin's declaration that he could very well be back in town by the year's end.

    Mr Abhisit and the military top brass also do not want to be indicted in the cases concerning the crackdown on the red shirts.

    But despite having ganged up on Thaksin, the momentum of a Pheu Thai win is strong. The rural red shirts in the North and Northeast are even more widespread in support and have organised themselves as a strong political movement, as the outcry against injustice and double standards remains unanswered.

    Even the Central Region and metropolitan Bangkok is seeing a shift towards Pheu Thai.This is mainly because Mr Abhisit's administration is perceived as incompetent in managing the nation's affairs. Political reconciliation has not been achieved. And notwithstanding exports and high world food prices, money has trickled down slowly while the average person on the street faces rising prices across the board. Most feel the pain and the economy is not as rosy as the government wants them to believe. The border clashes with Cambodia and the government's fumbling diplomacy decreases its credibility.

    The label dee tae pood, or literally "empty words" has struck a chord with the general voters. The lack of leadership has disappointed even the traditional supporters of the Democrat Party.

    Nevertheless, the Democrats and their allies, the military and all, have no choice but to slug it out in the election. There were attempts to manipulate the postponement of elections and of course this being Thailand, rumours and the real possibility of a coup d'etat have always existed. But with strong public sentiment against diverting from the democratic route and the examples from the so-called "Arab Spring", the cost of a coup would be too high and few would want to suffer the consequences of failure.Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has always been adamant, recently admitted to accepting the election outcome, no matter which side wins.

    For now, Gen Prayuth will be given the benefit of the doubt. But it would be too naive to believe that the road to the election will be sunny and clear. At least two factors must be taken into consideration.

    First, the election could be mired in violence. The shooting of veteran politician and former MP, Pracha Prasopdee, this past Tuesday could be an omen of things to come. Many red-shirt political canvassers have already been threatened or silenced, and a new wave of political violence seems to be emerging.

    Second, with so much at stake, election fraud is expected to be rife. The red shirts and Pheu Thai are already setting up mechanisms to inspect the actions of authorities working to shore up support for the ruling party and coalition partners. Expect a barrage of accusations from both sides.

    The Election Commission will have its hands full. The EC must be closely watched, from the local EC officials right up to the commissioners themselves, as political interference in the EC is not unheard of.

    Both situations, should they get out of control, could provide the basis for those who still argue for a "national government" through political interference within the constitution by invoking Section 7; or even provide the grounds for a "justified" coup d'etat. That would indeed be most unfortunate for the country.

    The best way is to muddle through. It is essential that the public and media keep the pressure on all sides to play within the boundaries and prevent any sidetracking of the democratic process.

    Suranand Vejjajiva served in the Thaksin Shinawatra cabinet and is now a political analyst.

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Many red-shirt political canvassers have already been threatened or silenced, and a new wave of political violence seems to be emerging.
    Unsubstantiated- is this true?

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    The heiress, the athletes and the pimp… Thailand’s celebrity candidates | Asian Correspondent

    The heiress, the athletes and the pimp… Thailand’s celebrity candidates

    By Siam Voices May 13, 2011 10:00AM UTC

    By Saksith Saiyasombut

    Ever since prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has announced the dissolution of parliament, thus paving the way for new federal elections on July 3, all political parties (and other groups) are now in full campaign mode giving all their best intentions to win over voters.

    While the Puea Thai Party, the biggest opposition party, still hasn’t decided on a front-runner yet (but most likely to field Thaksin’s younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra as a PM candidate), many names are slowly popping up on the party-lists. Many of them are well-known, but not necessarily for their political work, rather for their illustrious past. Here are some of them…


    Former Thai tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan, left, and his Canadian ex-wife and former Miss Universe Natalie Glebova. Pic: AP.

    The Nation writes about a young, attractive woman having a go at a constituency for the first time in her life – and it is not about Yingluck…
    Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, a new Democrat Party MP candidate for Bangkok’s Dusit-Ratchathewi constituency, is visiting residents around Sriyan Market to introduce herself before the coming election. ”This week I’m still introducing myself because I am a ‘newbie’ and next week I’ll be campaigning for the party,” she said.

    Although, she has been called a “new face”, Chitpas is not really a “newbie” in politics. (…) She has been secretary to the Information and Communications Technology minister since 2009 and has been closely involved in politics. (…)

    The Democrat Party is highly democratic and has a good political ideology because it is not “led by a capitalist”, she said.

    ‘Newbie’ hopes to make political waves“, The Nation, May 12, 2011
    What the article glaringly omits though is the real background of the 25-year-old: Chitpas Bhirombhakdi is the daughter of Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, executive vice-president of Singha Corporation – and often referred to as the ‘heiress’ of the beer brewery.

    However, the biggest glaring omission of that article (and telling for The Nation‘s work) was she had more work experience than just at the MICT: Chitpas was a staff member of the PM’s secretariat office. In late 2009, her parents’ enterprise produced a raunchy pin-up calendar to promote “Leo” beer, a product of the Singha Corporation. The depicted, body-painted ladies caused a stir (very reminiscent to the recent Songkran brouhaha) and it also legally forbidden to advertise alcoholic drinks – no matter if these calendars are given out free or for purchase – and circulation has been stopped. And then this happened:
    The hot, hot, hot Leo calendar brought heat to the Bhirombhakdi family that controls Singha Corporation when a Singha heiress brought them to work – the Government House (Thai Prime Minister’s office).

    On Wednesday, Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, a 23-year-old daughter of the executive vice-president of Singha Corporation, took out two boxes of calendars from the trunk of her BMW and distributed them at the Government House in Bangkok.

    Government House officials (including deputy government spokesmen Phumin Leetheeraprasert and Supachai Jaisamut), MPs, police and journalists (covering the Government House beat) lined up to accept Chitpas’ generosity and within a few minutes, about 200 copies were snapped up.

    Stir over girly calendar“, by Philip Golingai, The Star (Malaysia), December 19, 2009
    She later resigned from her post after much, much public pressure and issued an official apology – displaying a more sincere behavior than all the officers who hounded her to get one. This is by no means meant to discredit Miss Chitpas, who at least showed more responsibility than many senior political figures, rather this is supposed to showcase the glaring omission the author of the article has (willingly?) done.

    Not to be outdone, the Democrat Party really seems to leave nothing to chance, since their literally all-star party-list includes “30 electoral candidates who are celebrities and heirs of political families“. Another party that banks on a similar strategy is the Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party (quite a mouthful name, I know), a hybrid of two parties, which were part of the government coalition. This party goes all out on one particular niche:
    The coalition Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party yesterday formally introduced former soccer hero Piyapong Piew-on as a new member. He is the latest athletic celebrity to join the party, which boasts sports heavyweight Suwat Liptapanlop as its de facto leader.

    The party has already enlisted Paradorn Srichaphan, who reached ninth in the world professional men’s tennis rankings, and Yaowapa Burapholchai, who bagged a bronze medal for women’s taekwondo at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

    Sports heroes carry parties towards election goals“, The Nation, May 11, 2011
    This all-star-team comes with a whole laundry list of sport-specific policies, which includes the creations of sports complexes and more financial support for all national sporting associations. Other parties have also enlisted former sport heros, such as olympic boxing gold medalist Somluck Khamsing, who will run with three other former boxing champions for the Chart Thai Pattana Party (not to be confused with the other party with the similar name) – hoping to follow the same example set by another boxing champion in the region.


    Chuwit Kamolvisit, center, a one-time sex tycoon and a candidate in the upcoming Thai elections. Pic: AP.

    And to round up the luminary list of curious electoral contenders, an old veteran returns to the political stage in his trademark fashion:
    Outspoken politician Chuwit Kamolvisit has launched his own party, aided by a bull terrier.

    Mr Chuwit launched his Rak Prathet Thai (Love Thailand) Party at his home in Sukhumvit Soi 10 yesterday. His home will also serve as the party’s headquarters.

    The massage parlour tycoon-turned-politician who has tried to portray himself as an anti-vice and corruption crusader said his party would work on the opposition benches to monitor the government. (…)

    During his party launch, he showed his pet dog, a bull terrier, saying the dog was a symbol of loyalty and honesty.

    Chuwit out to hound govt with new party“, Bangkok Post, May 13, 2011
    Weighing in with a field of 10 electoral candidates (untypical modest for Chuwit), the primary goal is to be the opposition watchdog (pun intended) to the next government. Unlike all parties mentioned above, the now self-proclaim ‘Mr. Clean’ claims not to field celebrities but ordinary people – many would say that Chuwit is the star of the party anyways! Certainly Chuwit is one of the most colorful personalities in Thai politics and always a source for head-turning (and sometimes -scratching) activism.

    So, there have it: a beer-heiress, several former athletes and a flamboyant former massage parlor-tycoon – if it the current situation wasn’t so serious, the backbenchers make up for a very entertaining two-month-campaign.

  21. #221
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    ^ Here's the piece the above quotes...only posting some of it, more at the link.

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/poli...with-new-party

    Chuwit out to hound govt with new party

    Outspoken politician Chuwit Kamolvisit has launched his own party, aided by a bull terrier.


    Love Thailand Party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit gets cosy with Moto Moto, his pet bull terrier, at a press conference introducing his new party yesterday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

    The massage parlour tycoon-turned-politician who has tried to portray himself as an anti-vice and corruption crusader said his party would work on the opposition benches to monitor the government.

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    Bangkok Post : Puea Pandin pulls out of poll race as it battles defections

    Puea Pandin pulls out of poll race as it battles defections

    Forced break called to 'avoid confusing voters'

    The Puea Pandin Party will not field candidates in the election as the party is struggling to survive a mass exodus of its key politicians to other parties.

    Kwang Robkhorb, the party's acting leader, yesterday said Puea Pandin had resolved to "take a break" and would not field any candidates to compete in the July 3 election.

    He said the political pause would prevent confusion among voters since a large number of former Puea Pandin politicians had defected and were competing under other parties' banners.

    "We will come back full steam at the next election [after the July 3 poll]," Mr Kwang said yesterday.

    Members of the party's Ban Rim Nam faction, led by Suchart Tancharoen, were the latest group to defect yesterday.

    The group members, including Ronritthichai Khankhet, Nimuta Waba, Manop Patanawong, Piyarat Muensaen, Pichet Tancharoen and Natchapol Tancharoen, left for Bhumjaithai.

    Also defecting was former Puea Pandin MP for Chiang Mai Norapol Tantimontree, who will join the Democrats.

    Former MP for Narathiwat Waemahadi Waedao will move to the Dharmaphiban Sangkhom Party while former Pattani MP Yusree Susaro will take a break and have his father run in the election for the Matubhum Party.

    The departures from the Puea Pandin Party politicians can be traced back years when Suwit Khunkitti, who was the initial Puea Pandin leader, moved to the Social Action Party. Mr Suwit is now the SAP leader.

    Later on, the Ban Suan Luang faction, under the support of fugitive Vatana Asavahame, left the party and formed the Matubhum Party under the leadership of Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin.

    The powerful "3Ps faction" led by Phinij Jarusombat, the late Pairoj Suwannachawee and Preecha Laohapongchana, earlier defected to the Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party of Suwat Liptapanlop.

    Pol Gen Pracha Promnok, leader of the Isan faction, last month moved to the Pheu Thai Party, while a key faction member Chaiyos Jiramethakorn went to the Democrat Party earlier this week.

    The Puea Pandin Party was established after the September 2006 coup that toppled the Thaksin Shinawatra government and its main financiers were communication tycoons and Vatana who was sentenced in 2008 by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to 10 years in jail for bribing officials in a land grab. Vatana is now on the run.

    Mr Phinij reportedly told former MPs of his 3Ps faction to resign from the Puea Pandin Party and run in the next election for Chart Pattana Puea Pandin. Mr Phinij also asked the remaining executives of Puea Pandin not to field candidates to safeguard support for Chart Pattana Puea Pandin candidates.

    Mr Kwang, who is the acting leader of the Puea Pandin Party in place of Charnchai Chairungruang of the 3Ps faction who moved to the Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party, will remain as the acting leader of Puea Pandin until May 30 next year, a source said.

    Then, the five-year political suspension of Mr Phinij and others in the group of 111 politicians of the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party will end and Mr Phinij will return as the party leader and vie for the prime minister's seat.

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    Thailand split as Thaksin's sister joins poll - Asia, World - The Independent

    Thailand split as Thaksin's sister joins poll

    The army, backed by the establishment, will do whatever it can to ensure Thaksin does not return to power

    By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent

    Friday, 13 May 2011


    GETTY IMAGES
    Yingluck Shinawatra, left, is expected to stand against the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva

    Thailand is readying itself for an election battle that will pitch the incumbent Prime Minister and his party against supporters of a former premier who was ousted in a bloodless coup and whose sister is likely to lead the campaign.

    Last week, the country’s parliament was dissolved and July 3 fixed as the date for a contest that will come down to a clash between prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and exiled businessman Thaksin Shinawatra, who was twice elected premier only to be forced out by the military in 2006. Reports suggest that Mr Thaksin’s younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is to be announced as prime ministerial candidate of his Pheu Thai party.

    For both sides, everything is to play for. For the British-born, Eton-educated Mr Abhisit, who came to office by a parliamentary vote in 2008, it is an opportunity to finally obtain a popular mandate.

    From the perspective of Mr Thaksin, a telecommunications tycoon who currently lives in Dubai, it is the chance to right the wrongs that were done to him and his supporters when he was forced from office.

    “[The election] will decide which direction the country is taking, whether to walk ahead or dwell on the conflicts,” said Mr Abhisit, as he announced the dissolution of the parliament.

    Opinion polls suggest the race between Pheu Thai and Mr Abhisit’s Democrat Party will be very tight. A report in the Bangkok Post said a poll carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration found 23 per cent of voters supporting Pheu Thai and around 20 per cent supporting the Democrat Party. Other polls have been even closer. Anywhere between a third and half of voters are apparently undecided.

    Most analysts believe neither side will achieve a clear majority and as such, it will be crucial which of the smaller groups the two larger parties are able to draw into a coalition. In such circumstances, the bargaining power of a myriad of smaller parties will soar.

    The election is taking place against a backdrop of unyielding polarisation within Thai politics a year after dozens of Red Shirts supporters of Mr Thaksin were killed during a series of protests in Bangkok. Despite calls for reconciliation, Red Shirt supporters have continued to be harried. Earlier this week, a candidate for Pheu Thai, Pracha Prasopdee, was shot and wounded. On Wednesday, several other senior members of the party were sent to jail over amid allegations that had breached rules that prohibit <redacted>

    “The way things are going, this has little chance to meet any definition of a “free and fair” election. Thailand does not have a history of large-scale election fraud; even if they wanted to, I am not at all confident that the generals have the know-how to pull off something like that,” said Federico Ferrara, of the University of Hong Kong. “But that doesn’t mean that the Democrats do not enjoy a decided advantage as a result of the banning of opposition politicians, control of the state and most media, censorship, threats of further judicial intervention.”

    In the run-up to the election, Mr Abhisit is hoping that a series of populist measures, hurriedly passed by his cabinet, will be enough to lure voters and give his party its first clear victory at the polls since 1992. Taking a leaf from the actions of his rival Mr Thaksin when he was in office, the prime minister has approved more than £2.7m worth of projects, including help for landless farmers, pay increases for state employees and low-cost loans for housing.

    Pheu Thai, whose support is strongest in the north and north-east and among the country’s rural poor, is likely to announce that Yingluck Shinawatra, who has minimal political experience, is to be the candidate for prime minister.

    “It’s a zero-sum game and this election will only heighten the level of confrontation and polarisation,” Somjai Phagaphasvivat, a professor of politics and economics at Bangkok’s Thammasat University, told Reuters. “Thaksin has promised he will return and his enemies are afraid he will want revenge. They will try to stop him and although the situation will be contained for now, after the election, another face-off is inevitable.”

    Crucial, will be the role adopted by the army. Thailand has endured at least 18 coups since 1932. Many believe the army, backed by a small establishment of royalists and business elite, will do whatever it can to ensure Mr Thaksin and his party does not return to power.

    Giles Ji Ungpakorn, an academic who fled to the UK when he faced lese majeste charges, said recent actions by the military were directly related to the upcoming poll. He said the army had carried out public manouvres, stepped-up fighting on the Thai-Cambodia border and was now pursuing opponents with the threat of imprisonment. “They are trying to create a climate of fear,” he said. “They believe that Abhisit, or another civilian politician like him, is their best option.”

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    http://www.tannetwork.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1043697



    Election Campaigns in Provinces Intensifies


    UPDATE : 13 May 2011

    The atmosphere in several provinces has become vigorous as anticipation for the upcoming election grows.

    Police have also stepped up security after the former Samut Prakarn MP of Pheu Thai Party was attacked earlier this week.

    Campaign posters and policy advertisement billboards can be widely seen on roads in Petchaburi Province.

    It is expected that after the application period of May 24 to 28, party list candidates will campaign more aggressively.

    Former MP of Petchaburi Province, Piya Ungkinant is set to become Pheu Thai Party's candidate, silecing rumors that he would move to the Bhumjaithai Party.


    Meanwhile, several party list candidates are advertising their political campaigns in Buriram Province even before the application period.

    Pheu Thai Party candidate Kajorntorn Judto admitted that this general election is highly competitive.

    Every MP candidate needs to be more careful about safety after the shooting of former Pheu Thai Party MP Pracha Prasobdee.

    Many campaign banners at Buriram's Krasung and Pabplachaidistricts were vandalized after party list candidates as competition for the political stronghold intensifies.

    Campaign posters and government banners were sprayed with content attacking Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

    It is reported that more than 50 signs and banners were destroyed.

    Many candidates are also campaigning on vehicles with amplifiers blaring political messages in Ubon Ratchathani Province.

    Meanwhile, police across the country have reportedly stepped up security for political candidates after Pracha was attacked earlier this week.

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    http://www.tannetwork.tv/tan/ViewData.aspx?DataID=1043714

    Veteran Politician Sanoh Thienthong to Join Pheu Thai


    UPDATE : 13 May 2011

    Veteran politician Sanoh Thienthong, together with 3 other key members of Pracharaj Party, will team up with Pheu Thai party to compete in the upcoming general election. However, the veteran politician is adamant Pracharaj Part will not be disbanded or merged with any other political party.

    Sanoh is expected to play a key role in garnering support for Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, and her nomination to take the no.1 candidate on the party's partylist.

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