Thai red shirts win election

Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, probably the nest Prime Minister of Thailand

From Associated Press:

Jul 3, 4:40 AM EDT

Thai exit polls show big win for ousted PM’s party

Associated Press

BANGKOK — The opposition party allied to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was poised for landslide victory Sunday in fractious Thailand‘s elections, easily garnering the majority needed to form a new government, according to two respected exit polls.

The Election Commission has yet to release results, but is expected to do so later Sunday.

If confirmed, the outcome would set the stage for Thaksin’s youngest sister, 44-year-old Yingluck Shinawatra, to become the Southeast Asian kingdom’s first female prime minister. Such a large mandate to govern could also make it easier to navigate a way out of out of the political crisis that has plagued Thailand since Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup five years ago.

Two respected exit polls were released after polls closed at 3 p.m.

One, the Suan Dusit university poll, gave Yingluck’s party 313 of 500 parliament seats, compared to 152 seats for the ruling Democrat party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Another poll by Bangkok’s Assumption University gave Pheu Thai 299 seats compared to 132 for the Democrats.

Abhisit Vejjajiva’s party, known as “yellow shirts” as opposed to pro-democracy “red shirts”, may be “Democrats” in name, and in the eyes of some uncritical Werstern corporate media. However, their position in government so far is based on an extremely undemocratic military coup. They smell of military dictatorship and absolute monarchy.

While the vote itself was peaceful, many fear violence could erupt if the outcome is not accepted by party rivals or the coup-prone military.

Holding the ballot was a key demand of anti-government protesters who flooded the streets of Bangkok for two months last year and brought the glittering city to its knees.

Thaksin’s ascent to power in 2001 changed Thailand forever, touching off a societal schism between the country’s haves and long-silent have-nots. The marginalized rural poor hail his populism, while the elite establishment sees him as a corrupt, autocratic threat to the revered monarchy and the status quo.

That schism has played out through pro- and anti-Thaksin street protests since the 2006 coup, and on Sunday it hit the ballot box.

See also here.

New Thai government faces pressure to ditch election pledges: here. And here.

June 2011: Thailand’s pet dealers are supplying large numbers of Madagascar’s most threatened reptiles and amphibians to local and international markets, despite unanswered questions over the legality of the imports, a new TRAFFIC report has found: here.

Rail union RMT condemned a decision by the Thai Labour Court today to sack seven union leaders who organised a strike over safety in 2009 and to impose a punitive fine of 15 million baht (£308,000) on their union the SRUT: here.

Moves by the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to implement an electoral promise to guarantee rice prices for Thailand’s farmers have raised sharp criticisms in ruling circles. Known in Thailand as the rice mortgage scheme, the election pledge was a vital part of her Puea Thai party’s efforts to maintain political support in the rural north east and north of the country for the July 3 national election: here.

Italian Photographer’s Death Probed. Thai Army Alleged to Have Targeted Journalists in 2010 Protests: here.

16 thoughts on “Thai red shirts win election

  1. New Parliament declared opened

    THAILAND: The official opening of the new parliament took place today — almost a month after elections that saw the Pheu Thai party gain 60 per cent of the seats — meaning leader Yingluck Shinawatra is almost certain to be the country’s next prime minister.

    Ms Shinawatra is the sister of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a military coup in 2006.

    Her party is backed by the “red shirt” movement and plans an increase in the minimum wage and the development of rail infrastructure.


  2. MPs elect country’s first female PM

    THAILAND: MPs elected US-educated businesswoman Yingluck Shinawatra as the country’s first female prime minister today, setting the stage for the political newcomer to take charge of a country that has been deeply divided since her brother was ousted in a 2006 coup.

    Before Ms Yingluck can assume the post King Bhumibol Adulyadej must endorse her in a separate ceremony expected to take place this weekend.

    The vote took place a month after Ms Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party swept the country’s July 3 elections, winning 265 seats in the 500-member lower house of Parliament.

    Pheu Thai has since consolidated those gains, building alliances with smaller parties to form a 300-seat-strong coalition.


  3. US citizen charged with royal insult

    THAILAND: Authorities charged US citizen Joe Gordon with insulting the country’s monarchy on Thursday.

    Mr Gordon faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted under the country’s strict lese majeste law against criticising the king or the royal family.

    He allegedly translated parts of an unauthorised biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and posted articles online that were deemed to have defamed the royal family.

    US embassy spokeswoman Kristin Kneedler said the US is “disappointed with the prosecutor’s decision.”


  4. Man denies royal insult charges

    THAILAND: A Thai lawyer says police have arrested a computer programmer on charges of insulting the country’s monarch on a Facebook page.

    The charges carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

    Lomrak Meemeuan said yesterday that his client Surapak Puchaisaeng was accused of creating a Facebook profile with defamatory postings about the king.

    Mr Puchaisaeng denies the charge.

    Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lese majeste laws that mandate a jail term of three to 15 years for any person who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the regent.”


  5. Statistics expose fat-cat cabinet

    Thailand: Almost two-thirds of the country’s new cabinet are millionaires, with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ranking second on the list.

    The National Counter-Corruption Commission released the figures today from asset declarations that are mandatory for all incoming and outgoing ministers.

    The wealthiest is Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi with declared net assets of over 960 million baht (£20 million).


  6. Thailand: U.S. Ends Largest-Ever Annual Air Exercise

    U.S. Air Force
    March 29, 2012

    U.S., Thai service members conclude Cope Tiger
    By Capt. David Herndon
    Cope Tiger Public Affairs

    -This year more than 1,900 airmen and civilians participated in the exercise, including approximately 430 U.S. service members. The exercise included a total of 92 aircraft and 34 air defense units, including U.S. platforms such as the C-130 Hercules, A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III and F-15 Eagle. Combined exercise leaders said this was the largest Cope Tiger bi-lateral freedom jump in its 18-year history.

    UDON THANI, Thailand: More than 240 Thai and U.S. airmen and soldiers took part in a personnel drop over Lop Buri, Thailand, to close out this year’s Cope Tiger 2012 multilateral air exercise, which was held here March 12-23.

    The mission between the U.S., Thailand and Singapore aimed to improve U.S. and Royal Thai Air Force abilities to inter-operate.

    The jump personnel were transported by two U.S. Air Force C-17 aircrews from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and by two C-130 Hercules aircrews from Yokota Air Base, Japan.

    The mobility Airmen were staged out of Udon Thani Royal Thai Air Base Base, Thailand, and readied the transport aircraft for static line and high-altitude/low-opening procedures…

    This year more than 1,900 airmen and civilians participated in the exercise, including approximately 430 U.S. service members. The exercise included a total of 92 aircraft and 34 air defense units, including U.S. platforms such as the C-130 Hercules, A-10 Thunderbolt II, C-17 Globemaster III and F-15 Eagle. Combined exercise leaders said this was the largest Cope Tiger bi-lateral freedom jump in its 18-year history.

    “This was the ultimate training environment to practice the execution of a complex scenario with multiple weapon systems, users and methods of aerial delivery,” said Monaco.

    Cope Tiger is an annual, multilateral joint and combined field training exercise that takes place at Korat and Udon Thani Royal Thai Air Force Bases. The exercise aims to enhance readiness and combined/joint interoperability between U.S. forces, allies and partners within the Asia-Pacific region. Exercise scenarios concluded March 23 and redeployment of personnel and aircraft continue this week.


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  8. Civil rights group: 700 people died

    THAILAND: British-based civil rights watchdog Global Witness warned today that more than 700 people died in the decade ending 2011 “defending their human rights or the rights of others related to the environment, specifically land and forests.”

    The death toll reached highs of 96 in 2010 and 106 last year. Annual totals for the prior six years ranged from 37 in 2004 to 64 in 2008.


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