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June 2019 : House, Senate Elected Prayut Prime Minister

  • House, Senate Elected Prayut Prime Minister
  • Democrat voted to join Prayut government
  • Abhisit resigned from MP
  • Pheu Thai supports Thanathorn to run PM
  • Palang Pracharath and Pheu Thai political factions
  • Cabinet endorsed digital economic
  • Cabinet approved Net Pracharat
  • CC accepted to rule on 32 MPs media shareholdings
  • Thaksin 2-year jail from lottery scheme
  • POLLS reflected public views on politics

    House, Senate elected Prayut PM

           On 5 June, the MPs and senators voted for Prayut Chan-o-cha to prime minister. He beated Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit leader of Future Forward Party with 500 to 244 votes and 3 abstained.

           The combined House and Senate comprise with 750 members but only 747 were presented. Those absent were Thanathorn, suspended over an alleged media shareholding, Nakorn Pathom Future Forward Mrs. Jumpita Chantarakajorn was ill and Democrat Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned from party MP earlier that morning.

           Prayuts 500 votes were beyond the 376 minimum requirements needed as stipulated in the constitution. All 250 senators voted to support him.

           On 11 June, His name was published in the Royal Gazette after he received royal endorsement, making him the 29th prime minister of Thailand.

    Democrat voted to join government

           On 4 July, the Democrat Party has voted to join the Palang Pracharath alliance, to support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to continue as prime Minister. The decision was made in a secret voting by its party executives and MPs. The result was 61-16, with 2 abstentions and 1 bad ballot.

    Abhisit resigned from party list MP

           On 5 June at 10.00 am shortly after the parliament session convened, former Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva walked out from the meeting and announced his resignation as MP.

           He remarked during the election campaign that he would not support Gen Prayut as prime minister.

           Suthat Ngemuen , the 21st ranking Democrat party list MP will be moved to replace Abhisit but Mr. Suthat could not perform duty until the Election Commission certify his status.

    Pheu Thai supports Thanathorn to run prime minister

           On 4 June, Phue Thai party secretariat Phumtham Wechayachai announced the party would not nominate any of its party members to run the prime minister but will support Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit to the candidacy.

    Palang Pracharath and Pheu Thai blocs

           On June 4, core leaders of Palang Pracharath and other five parties; Ruam Palang Prachachart, Chart Pattana, Palang Thong Tin Thai, Rak Puen Pa Thai and Prachachon Patiruep announced their mutual agreement to form a coalition government leads by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

           On the opposite side, Pheu Thai party is being supported by 6 parties; Future Forward, Seri Ruam Thai, Pheu Chart, Sethakit Mai, Prachachart and Palang Pheung Chon Thai. They will nominate Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit to run for prime minister.

    Cabinet endorsed digital economy

           On 25 June the cabinet resolved to approve the draft Digital Economy declaration in which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will endorse at the G20 ministerial meeting in Osaka, Japan. Any declaration concerning international relationship or organizations that will lead to state binding needs cabinet approval in regards to Section 4(7) of the royal decree on the issues that needs cabinet consent.

           Principles of the digital economy are guidelines of using artificial intelligence (AI). Users and developers of AI should be fair and accountable, with transparent decision-making processes and to respect the rule of laws and values including privacy, equality, diversity and international recognized labor rights.

           Previously between 20-23 June, the 34th ASEAN summit meeting was held in Bangkok and its member states had rectified the Bangkok Declaration with commitments to seriously and sustainably solve oceanic waste.

    Cabinet approved Village Broadband Internet

           On 25 June, the cabinet acknowledged the Digital for Economic and Society Ministrys progress of the Village Broadband Internet ( Net Pracharat) project aiming to expand broadband high-speed Internet network to reach every village in the country. The project was first launched on 19 December 2017 with a minimum of one free wi-fi hotspot at the speed of 30/10 Mbps installed to 24,700 villages. Currently the users number have increased around 200,000-300,000 monthly to a total of 5.21 million.

    CC to probe 32 MPs shares

           On 26 June, the Constitutional Court accepted petitions against 32 of the 41 government MPs who are accused by the opposition of breaching the charters rule on shareholdings in media firms, but did not suspend the MPs from their duties.

           The court rejected petitions against nine others, saying the judges found no grounds for the accusations; The 32 MPs have 15 days to submit their defense to the court.

           26 are from the Palang Pracharath, 11 from the Democrats and one each from the Bhumjaithai, the Action Coalition for Thailand, Chart Patattana and the Prachapiwat parties.

           The court did not order the 32 MPs to be suspended from their duties, saying their cases are different from that of the Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

           The court said the petitions against the 32 MPs, the petitioners, MPs of the FFP, did not set up any probe to back their accusations. The petitioners only submitted to the court certificates of the registration of companies and partnerships which only state their objectives, and copies of shareholders list. The petitioners did not present documents showing the business operations of companies or partnerships nor the submission forms of financial statements which might show what business the companies gain an income from. As it was not clear what business the 32 MPs operated, the court will have to investigate further.

           But in Mr. Thanathorns case, the Election Commission (EC) launched a probe and found there were grounds to the accusation against him before forwarding the case to the court.

           The EC found Mr. Thanathorn held shares in V-Luck Media CO, a media firm, when he registered as an MP candidate in early February, an alleged violation of Section 98(3) of the charter, which prohibits owners and shareholders of media and/or publishing firms applying to become MPs.

           The court said the documents which the EC handed over to the court clearly include submission forms of financial statements which Mr. Thanathorns company submitted to the Department of Business Development between 2012 and 2015.

           The statements clearly showed the company received an income from the sale of magazines and advertising services.

           Regarding the petitions against the nine MPs which were thrown out by the court, the court said checks had found their companies ran businesses selling papers, stationery, books, teaching aids, printing equipment, and office equipment. Among others, and have nothing to do with the media or publishing.

           Following this, the Palang Pracharath MPs had submitted petitions to the House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on qualifications of 33 opposition MPs on their holding of media shares. 21 are the Future Forward Party, 4 Pheu Thai, 1 Prachachart, 3 Seri Ruamthai and 4 Pheu Chart parties.

    Thaksin got 2 years jail over lottery scheme

           On 6 June, the Supreme Courts Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to two years in jail for illegally launching a two-and three-digit lottery scheme between 2003 and 2006.

           He was found guilty of breaching Section 157 of the Criminal Code regarding abuse of power in relation to the case.

           The scheme ran from August 1, 2003 to September 16, 2006 when Thaksin was prime minister. He was among 47 defendants in the case, who included cabinet ministers and executives of the Government Lottery Office (GLO) at that time.

           The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) brought the case to court in 2008 but it was shelved after Thaksin fled Thailand that year.

           The case was later revived after a law on criminal procedures for holders of political positions, which enables a trial in absentia, came into effect in 2017.

           The court said the lottery scheme was aimed at seeking revenue for the state.

           Despite being challenged about the legality of the scheme, Thaksin made no effort to stop it. He ordered a deputy financial minister and the GLO director at the time to expedite efforts to roll out the scheme without waiting for lottery ticket printing machines to be ready.

           The moves showed Thaksin did not care about the objectives of the GLO operation with regards to law governing the organization and no efforts were made to amend the legislation before proceeding with the project.

           The court learned the scheme registered 123.3 billion baht in revenue and 1.6 billion baht in losses over seven draws.

           On September 30, 2009, the court handed down a two-year jail term and a fine of 200,000 baht on former deputy finance minister Varathep Rattanakorn. It also sentenced former GLO chairman Somchainuk Engtrakul and ex-GLO director Chaiwat Pasokpakdee to two years in jail and a fine of 10,000 baht each. The jail sentences of the three were suspended for two years because they did not have previous convictions.

    POLLS reflected public views on politics

           After the 24 March general election completed, meanwhile political parties were forming a coalition government, several research were made to reflect the Thai citizens opinions regarding to politics and the results are as follow.

           SUPER POLL disclosed on 2 June on what the citizens think about the politics conducted from 1,164 samples nationwide. More than half, 51.81% think it is worse than 5-6 years ago.

           79.47% have less to no confidence on the upcoming government while 20.53% have much to most confidence.

           DUSIT POLL, on 2 June, sampling size 1,137 nationwide, conducted between 28 May- 1 June, on the formation of coalition government, 44.14% think it is a bargaining for profit.

           43.73 wanted the coalition government to be formed as soon as possible but in compliance with international standards, respecting of the majority and democratically.

           As a whole, 76.29% saw Thai politics conflicting, profit seeking, instable and all of these effects on the peoples living.

           BANGKOK POLL on June 15, from 1,196 samplings nationwide, on the citizens views towards challenges facing the new government. 65.6% foresee the coalition government could comprise of up to 19 political parties and this will cause a less to least instability. 34.4% thinks the coalition government will have much to most stability.

           The new governments most challenging is conflict among coalition parties, 64.1% will come from how much numbers of cabinet members for each party. 43.8% from rumors and 41.6% from slightly different seats of MPs of both government and opposition.

           After Gen Prayuts royal endorsement on June 16, DUSIT POLL re-studied public opinions and revealed that despite to satisfaction of the country having an elected government, there is a displease on the succeeding of power which they think disgraceful. The people wanted the new government to quickly solve economic problems and asked the cabinet to uphold public interest.

           Once again the SUPER POLL on June 23 conducted a survey on 1,654 sampling between 15-22 June on public expectations from the new government. 57.0% wanted the nation to be peaceful. 49.4% wanted good governance. 41.0% wanted everyone to have jobs and good income. 36.5% expected public disciplinary. 34.8% wanted everyone to have positive attitudes towards each other. 34.8% love and indiscrimination. 32.9% helpfulness. 31.8% protecting national interest. 31.2% safety and 28.0% good citizens.

           It should be noted that when asking on solutions if politics comes to a deadlock and unrest again, 87.0% preferred dissolution of the House and re-election. 7.7% opted for military coup and 5.3% others solutions such as prime minister resignation and cabinet reshuffle.

           Lastly on June 30, the SUPER POLL disclosed its field study on public moods towards politics done on 1,673 sampling countrywide. The majority, 87.2% thinks both the House and Senate members should be scrutinized on their qualifications while 12.8% thinks they need not.

           The majority, 67.5% are very much to most concern on political conflict that can lead to unrest, 23.2% moderately worrying and 9.3% little to no worry.

           On current political situation, 92.4% said they are very very bored while 7.6% not bore but interesting. Lastly, on Gen Prayut becoming political party leader, 59.5% disagreeing while 40.5% agreeing.
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