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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        20  June  2011

Democrats to campaign in Ratchaprasong

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The Democrat Party's plan to hold a major electioneering event in Bangkok's Ratchaprasong area to remind voters about last year's mayhem will only intensify political conflict, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has warned.

Democrat leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said his party would hold a rally in front of CentralWorld shopping complex on Thursday in its last major address in Bangkok on the final leg of its election campaign.

"On that day, we will focus on the party's reconciliation plan. We invite everyone to come and listen to our plan to douse the fire in the country," Mr. Abhisit said as he campaigned in Phetchabun province.

Mr Abhisit said Ratchaprasong is "the perfect place" for his party's campaign speech because of the political unrest that took place there last year.

The red shirts set up their main stage at Ratchaprasong intersection during their lengthy demonstration to oust the Abhisit administration.

Ninety-two people died in the unrest, with dozens killed at Ratchaprasong and adjacent areas during the crackdown on protesters on May 19.

Tida Tawornseth, the UDD chairwoman, yesterday said the Democrats' Ratchaprasong address would provoke discontent among red shirt supporters, especially those who were injured or who lost their loved ones during the security forces' operations.

The Democrats' tactics to attack the red shirt people and to remind the public about the April-May protests would not do any good to the party and would not bring it more votes, she said.

Instead of rubbing salt into people's wounds, Mr Abhisit should launch a transparent investigation into the deaths of 92 people and bring involved state authorities to justice, said Mrs Tida, the wife of Weng Tochirakarn, the UDD leader-turned-Pheu Thai party list candidate.

"What the Democrat Party and Mr Abhisit are doing now is to provoke the red shirt people," she said.

"He attacked the UDD during his election campaigns, he wrote on his Facebook defending the government's violent dispersal of the red shirts, and now he will hold an election campaign at Ratchaprasong."






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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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