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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs       7  May 2011

Thai PM Abhisit submits dissolution decree

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Kicking off the countdown to the next election late next month or in early July, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has submitted for royal endorsement a decree to dissolve the House of Representatives.

Mr. Abhisit submitted the royal decree to His Majesty the King yesterday afternoon prior to his departure to Jakarta for the Asean Summit. He said the time was right to dissolve the House and he urged all parties to refrain from criticising each other while the royal decree is pending. He would talk to the press about the House dissolution on Monday after his return to Bangkok. "There shouldn't be any legal complications with the procedure.

"And I am confident the approach will move the country forward," he said. The move was not a surprise as Mr Abhisit had declared he would file for a dissolution of the House this week.

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday expressed confidence that it could proceed with a tentative schedule for the general election. EC member Prapun Naigowit said the agency had been making preparations for the election and was capable of holding the poll either on June 26 or July 3.

He also said the EC could wait a few more days if the Constitution Court had not yet made a final ruling on three organic election laws when the decree is approved His Majesty. The Constitution Court is expected to rule early next week on whether the three bills pertaining to the election comply with the constitution.

Thepthai Senpong, spokesman for the Democrat Party leader, said party candidates had been preparing for the election for some time and any more delays would mean additional expense. He said that if the agency was not ready to hold elections, some parties would reject the election outcome. He also welcomed main opposition Pheu Thai Party's call for an election watchdog to monitor fraud and vote-buying.

The government is not bent on wielding power to influence or tamper with the election, Mr. Thepthai said.

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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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