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Asean Affairs   8 July  2011

Legal wrinkle in Thai elections

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     8 July 2011

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On Friday afternoon the defeated Democrat Party in the recent Thai general election asked the Election Commission to pursue the abolition of the rival Puea Thai Party, the winner of Sunday's election, on the grounds that banned politicians were involved in its campaign.

"We asked (the) EC to recommend to the Constitutional Court to dissolve Pheu Thai," Wiratana Kalayasiri, head of the Democrats' legal team, told AFP.

"The accusation is that Pheu Thai allowed people subject to five-year political bans to become involved in policy planning, phone-ins and video addresses and also the selection of candidates," he said.

Two Thaksin Shinawatra-based parties have been dissolved in the past and their top executives, including the controversial former leader, were banned from politics.

There are 111 banned politicians from a political party that preceded the current Pheu Thai party floating around Thailand.

The question is if involvement in the Pheu Thai campaign constitutes political involvement under this law. For certain the banned politicians cannot run for office but do lesser activities cross the line? What does the law allow and what doesn’t it allow?

Another banned politician, Newin Chidcob, de facto leader of the Bhumjaithai party, is often in the news making political statements.

Thai courts move quite slowly and any decision is sure to be made following the swearing in of Yingluck Shinawatra as prime minister.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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