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December 9, 2013

Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections

Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections

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Monday, December 9, 2013

File photo of Yingluck Shinawatra from 2011
Image: United States Embassy, Bangkok.

Earlier today, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra formally dissolved the country’s parliament and called for new elections. The new elections are scheduled to take place on February 2 of next year. According to CNN, it is unclear if Shinawatra will be her party’s choice to as a candidate in the elections.

Yesterday, the 150 member strong Democrat Party, the country’s main opposition party, said they would resign en masse because they were unable to work with the current government.

Earlier today, a protest with estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people participating promised to storm Government House of Thailand where Shinawatra’s office is located. The protest included all members of the parliament’s opposition parties. Democrat Party Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva told CNN, “I think the best way for the Prime Minister to show responsibility is by returning power to the people”. He, other opposition leaders, and demonstrators want an unelected “people’s council.”

The country has had several weeks of protests leading up to Shinawatra’s decision. Five people died in one protest on November 30. Demonstrators have connected Shinawatra with her brother and former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaskin currently lives abroad and has not returned home because of a corruption conviction that could result in a two-year prison sentence. Shinawatra’s party had tried and failed to pass legislation granting amnesty to Thaksin.



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April 25, 2010

Thai prime minister dismisses offer by anti-government protesters

Thai prime minister dismisses offer by anti-government protesters

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

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Thailand’s prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has ruled out a compromise offer by anti-government protest leaders for parliament to be dissolved in thirty days, with elections to be held in 90 days.

File photo of Abhisit Vejjajiva

In a televised address on Sunday, with army chief General Anupong Paochinda at his side, the prime minister dismissed the offer made by the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), saying such issues could not be resolved in such a short period of time, and “because they use violence and intimidation. I cannot accept this.”

Abhisit said the government stood by an offer made during earlier talks with the UDD for the house to be dissolved within the next nine months.

In reaction, the UDD, also called the Red Shirts, maintained an earlier call for parliament to be dissolved immediately. The UDD also withdrew from any further negotiations with the government. UDD leaders have repeatedly warned supporters rallying in central Bangkok’s retail and business areas of the threat of a new government crackdown.

There have been two large incidents of street violence in the past month or so, resulting in 26 deaths and injuries to hundreds of people. The Red Shirts primarily consist of supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup. He was later given a two-year prison term on charges of corruption, although Shinawatra left the country in self-exile to avoid being jailed.



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April 13, 2010

Abhisit Vejjajiva administration on brink of collapse

Abhisit Vejjajiva administration on brink of collapse

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  • 21 May 2015: Yingluck Shinawatra, former Thai prime minster, begins her trial in Bangkok over corruption allegations
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 5 June 2014: ‘Hunger Games’ salute used to protest coup d’état in Thailand
  • 3 March 2014: Thai school bus crash kills fifteen
  • 9 December 2013: Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Remembering the dead, April 11th 2010.
Image: Pittaya Sroilong.

In a televised statement on Monday, Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva blamed the loss of life last Saturday in Bangkok on armed terrorists who had infiltrated the Red Shirt protesters. He added that the security forces had opened fire only when fired upon.

The Prime Minister’s statement came as he was suffering a double blow to his authority. As coffins draped in Thai flags paraded through Bangkok to symbolise the death of democracy, Thailand’s electoral commission ruled that Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party should disband. In addition, the chief of the Thai Army, General Anupong Paojinda, publicly called for the dissolution of parliament.

Despite pressure from the Vejjajiva administration, the Thai Army, which traditionally has been politically significant in the country, has been reluctant to use force against the protesters, and will become even more so following what will be seen as innocent blood on its hands.

Even though Vejjajiva has stated that the government and military remain united, without the unequivocal support of the Thai military and security forces, his administration has very little room for maneuver.

Ironically, Vejjajiva may be saved from having to concede to the Red Shirts’ demands for fresh elections through the same process that deposed his predecessor and led to his own rise to the premiership. A court has ruled that Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party accepted 258 million baht in illegal campaign donations from cement maker TPI Polene. Under Thai law, the courts have the power to dissolve any party ruled to have broken electoral laws and to ban its members from public office for five years. This is the same law that in 2008 resulted in the disbanding of the People’s Power Party and the removal of Somchai Wongsawat from office. Leaders from both sides of the political divide have welcomed this development as a way to resolve the current deadlock.

However political commentators note that even with fresh elections the impasse that led to what is now known as Black Saturday would not end. Thai society has become increasingly polarised into pro-Thaksin Shinawatra and anti-Thaksin Shinawatra camps, and neither side will be willing to see the other side in power whatever the results of elections.

The violence on April 10, 2010, the worst for 20 years, saw the death of 21 people, four soldiers and sixteen civilians, including Reuters reporter Hiroyuki Muramoto.


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  • “Clashes leave 21 dead in Thai capital” — Wikinews, Sunday, April 11, 2010

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April 11, 2010

Clashes leave 21 dead in Thai capital

Clashes leave 21 dead in Thai capital – Wikinews, the free news source

Clashes leave 21 dead in Thai capital

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  • 21 May 2015: Yingluck Shinawatra, former Thai prime minster, begins her trial in Bangkok over corruption allegations
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 5 June 2014: ‘Hunger Games’ salute used to protest coup d’état in Thailand
  • 3 March 2014: Thai school bus crash kills fifteen
  • 9 December 2013: Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fifteen deaths and over 680 injuries have resulted from clashes between Red shirt protesters and government forces in the Thai capital Bangkok.

The deaths of seventeen civilians, including a Japanese cameraman working for the Reuters agency, and four soldiers come after almost a month of protests. Since March 12 Red shirts, so called because of their wearing of red as an identifying symbol, have occupied public spaces and have held rallies and marches in Bangkok in an attempt to force fresh elections.

According to eye witness reports the deaths and injuries are as a result of the police use of rubber bullets and tear gas against the protesters. To which the protesters responded with missiles, pushing and shoving and it is alleged firearms and small bombs.

The current clashes follow an attempt by the security forces to clear key areas in the city. A move seen as an attempt to restore authority and dignity to the security forces lost when the Red Shirts succeeded breaking of a security cordon around the Thaicom satellite television station on Friday.

Despite the courts ruling that the occupation of public spaces as being illegal and the issuing of 27 arrest warrants for the movements leaders, the protests had until today hitherto been peaceful – if noisy – with Thai security forces showing restraint in the policing of the protests, reluctant to cause bloodshed.

The Red shirts consider the Abhisit Vejjajiva administration to be illegitimate having never won an election, and as an undemocratic one imposed on the nation after the Yellow Shirts toppled the elected government of now-fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, during the 2008–2009 Thai political crisis. Red Shirt leaders have called for Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, revered by both sides, to intervene and help end the stalemate.

In late 2009, the considerable continuing influence of the ex-PM saw him take a post with the Cambodian government. Despite being deposed in the 2006 coup, the ousted Thaksin has been in exile, mostly living in Dubai. He is still influential in Thailand, using protests by the Red Shirts, with the Thai government fearing Thaksin will use Cambodia as base to campaign.

However, Thaksin published a letter on his website last November indicating that he did not intend to “go to Cambodia to help Cambodia fight with Thailand […] As I travel to Cambodia to discuss poverty and the world economic situation, I will try to preserve Thai interests with our friends in Phnom Penh, despite the Thai government still hounding me wherever I go,” he stated.

Cambodia has made it clear that they will not extradite Thaksin. Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that regarding the jail sentence they are “not concerned about these issues […] We already clarified this case because he is a political victim.”



Related news

  • “Red Shirts cause state of emergency in Thai capital” — Wikinews, April 9, 2010
  • “Thai court strips ex-Prime Minister of $1.4 billion” — Wikinews, February 26, 2010
  • “Ousted Thai PM arrives in Cambodia to take up government post” — Wikinews, November 10, 2009

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February 26, 2010

Thai court strips ex-Prime Minister of $1.4 billion

Thai court strips ex-Prime Minister of $1.4 billion

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Friday, February 26, 2010

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File photo of Thai ex-PM Thaksin (right) meeting with Donald Rumsfeld in 2005.
Image: DoD photo by Helene C. Stikkel.

Thailand’s Supreme Court today ruled that the family of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra be stripped of 46.3 billion baht (US$1.4 billion) in frozen assets, more than half of a contested $2.3 billion fortune. According to the court, the seized assets were illegally gained while Thaksin was Prime Minister; specifically, his familial involvement and connections with Shin Corporation.

In a statement released by the court, the judges said that Thaksin had adjusted government policies to favor telecommunications businesses, including Shin Corporation, a large telecommunications company owned by Thaksin, and his family, and sold to a Singapore investment firm in 2006. Additionally, Thaksin was alleged to have deposited shares held in Shin Corporation with family members whilst in office – a move to avoid, under Thai law, illegally holding any company stock while Prime Minister. Additionally, he was found to have unfairly promoted a $127 million loan to Burma – benefiting a satellite communications firm controlled by his family.

In a response from an undisclosed location outside Thailand, Thaksin contested the ruling, claiming the case was politically motivated and that, “the court was used to get rid of a politician.” In his remarks, he said that he came by his wealth legally, and he would continue his fight against both the ruling and the party that ousted him in 2008. In Thailand, Thaksin’s red-shirted supporters publicly opposed the verdict; although, no significant disturbances have been reported despite government warnings over the possibility violence. Instead, protesters say they plan a mass demonstration against the ruling sometime in March.



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November 10, 2009

Ousted Thai PM arrives in Cambodia to take up government post

Ousted Thai PM arrives in Cambodia to take up government post

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Thaksin Shinawatra
Image: Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra arrived today in Cambodia where he will take up a post as the government’s economic advisor. The appointment has caused a diplomatic incident between the two countries, as Shinawatra was condemned to two years in jail in absentia for corruption.

Tension is already mounting, with the Thai government expressing both anger and embarrassment over the appointment. They have withdrawn their ambassador and have decided to cancel plans with the Cambodian government for trade and oil exploration. This comes amidst disputes over the Preah Vihear temple complex which spans both countries. Thailand has further threatened to close borders with its neighbour.

Thaksin will address 300 Cambodian economics experts on Thursday in Phnom Penh and is expected to remain “two or three days” according to Cambodian cabinet spokesman Phay Siphan. “It is an honour for Cambodia’s economic sector and we hope that Cambodians nationwide welcome him warmly,” he announced.

Cambodian information minister Khieu Kanharith also welcomed Thaksin. “We are looking forward to learning from Thaksin’s great economic experience and we are convinced that his experience will contribute to our country’s economic development,” he said.

A coup in 2006 ousted Thaksin after members of parliament defected during military rule. Since then he has been in exile, mostly living in Dubai. He is still influential in Thailand, using protests by the Red Shirts, and the Thai government fears that Thaksin will use Cambodia as base to campaign.

However, Thaksin published a letter on his website on Monday indicating that he did not intend to “go to Cambodia to help Cambodia fight with Thailand […] As I travel to Cambodia to discuss poverty and the world economic situation, I will try to preserve Thai interests with our friends in Phnom Penh, despite the Thai government still hounding me wherever I go,” he stated.

Cambodia has made it clear that they will not extradite Thaksin. Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that regarding the jail sentence they are “not concerned about these issues […] We already clarified this case because he is a political victim.”



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July 8, 2009

Thaksin still pervades Thai political landscape

Thaksin still pervades Thai political landscape

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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Thailand’s fugitive ex-premier, Thaksin Shinawatra is in the news again today, phoning supporters in the country and appealing for no celebration of his sixtieth birthday at Sanam Luang outside the royal palace in Bangkok. This follows some red-shirted United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) supporters vowing to go ahead with the party despite Bangkok’s Governor, Sukhumband Paribatra, saying he will deny any request.

File photo of Thaksin Shinawatra from 2005
Image: Helene C. Stikkel (US DoD).

According to Thailand’s English-language Bangkok Post, UDD leader Shinawat Haboonpad expressed determination to see the July 26 celebration go ahead, “… we will show our civil disobedience and ignore his order”.

The divisive impact of the populist Thaksin stretches back prior to him being ousted by a bloodless military coup in September 2006. As far back as 2005 figures within the Thai establishment were speaking against him; Thaksin used the courts to try and prevent dissemination of negative material, including the publication of a sermon by a respected Buddhist monk who compared him to Phra Devadhat, the Thai Buddhist equivalent of the devil. Bangkokians formed into the yellow-shirted anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) accusing the Prime Minister of corruption. Following the military intervention in 2006, and a groundswell of support among rural poor voters, the opposing pro-Thaksin groups formed into the UDD. Despite conviction in-absentia, Thaksin colours Thai politics, and has derailed efforts to stabilise the country’s political institutions.

This past week it has been the lead-up to the December 2008 dissolution of the pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party (PPP) government that has resurfaced. The then-Prime Minister, Somchai Wongsawat was barred from politics and his PPP dissolved by the country’s Constitutional Court following anti-Thaksin yellow shirts occupying Bangkok’s international airport and stranding as many as 300,000 tourists in the country. Now the country’s Foreign Minister, Kasit Piromya, a PAD leader, is facing pressure to step down for his part in the airport siege and blockade.

A report in Monday’s Bangkok Post indicates that Thai authorities continue to pursue Thaksin. The Interior Minister said that an attempt had been made to arrest Thaksin in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, but he had evaded capture and managed to return to Fiji where he remains in exile and a fugitive.



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January 21, 2009

Australian writer Harry Nicolaides jailed for three years for insulting Thai Royal Family

Australian writer Harry Nicolaides jailed for three years for insulting Thai Royal Family

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

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  • 21 May 2015: Yingluck Shinawatra, former Thai prime minster, begins her trial in Bangkok over corruption allegations
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 5 June 2014: ‘Hunger Games’ salute used to protest coup d’état in Thailand
  • 3 March 2014: Thai school bus crash kills fifteen
  • 9 December 2013: Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections
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File:King Bhumibol Adulyadej Portrait.jpg

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Melbourne writer Harry Nicolaides, 41, was sentenced on Monday to three years imprisonment for defaming the Royal Family of Thailand. He had pled guilty to the lèse majesté indictment that arose from a self-published 2005 novel, Verisimilitude, of which only 50 copies were printed, and just seven sold. Meanwhile, yesterday, the Thai police charged a leading leftist political science professor, Dr. Giles Ji Ungpakorn, with lèse majesté.

The passage of concern, which comprised only 103 words or 12 lines, referred to a crown prince’s love life. This allegedly insulted the lifestyle of H.R.H. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the only son of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

The Royal Family of Thailand is the current ruling house of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Head of the House of the King of Thailand. It is protected by law (Lèse majesté) from insult, with the charge carrying a maximum 15-year sentence.

“He has written a book that slandered the king, the crown prince of Thailand and the monarchy,” the judge ruled. “He was found guilty under criminal law article 112 and the court has sentenced him to six years, but due to his confession, which is beneficial to the case, the sentence is reduced to three years,” the judge explained.

Nicolaides earlier confessed to having slandered 81-year-old King Bhumibol and his son Vajiralongkorn. “I respect the King of Thailand. I was aware there were obscure laws (about the monarchy) but I didn’t think they would apply to me,” he tearfully said. He was arrested and detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on August 31 as he tried to leave the country on a routine trip. Nicolaides was unaware of an arrest warrant issued on March 17, since he was not officially notified of the preliminary investigation.

Nicolaides had even sent copies of the published book to the Thai Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs, the national library and the Bureau of the Royal Household, for approval. In the decision, the Thai judge clarified that Nicolaides had placed the monarchy into disrepute, even obliquely, by his “reckless choice of words”. The judgment cited a passage about the novel’s fictional prince which caused “dishonour” to the royals and suggested an “abuse of royal power.”

The fictional passage in question goes as follows:

From King Rama to the Crown Prince, the nobility was renowned for their romantic entanglements and intrigues. The crown prince had many wives, ‘major and minor’, with a coterie of concubines for entertainment. One of his recent wives was exiled with her entire family, including a son they conceived together, for an undisclosed indiscretion. He subsequently remarried another woman, and fathered another child. It was rumoured that if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives, and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever.
Verisimilitude, Harry Nicolaides

Nicolaides, who had worked in Thailand from 2003 to 2005 as a Chiang Rai university lecturer in hospitality and tourism, left the Bangkok court wearing a dark orange prison jumpsuit with his feet shackled. “This is an Alice-in-Wonderland experience. I really believe that I am going to wake up and all of you will be gone. I would like to apologise. This can’t be real. It feels like a bad dream,” said Nicolaides. He felt “dreadful,” adding, “I wish my family the best.”

Queen Sirikit of Thailand with Vladimir Putin in Kremlin, Moscow (July, 2007)

His brother Forde Nicolaides said Harry is not appealing but will request a Thai royal pardon. “We’re devastated. You might be able to hear my mother crying in the background. It’s quite devastating for us. The whole case has been a massive emotional ordeal that has consumed our entire family. It’s beyond belief,” Forde was reported as saying.

Nicolaides’ family has attributed some blame to the Rudd government for its failure to intervene in the case. Forde criticized Foreign Minister Stephen Smith: “There is a huge expectation gap between what Australian citizens think the Australian government will do when they are in trouble overseas versus what they will do.”

Harry’s father Socrates Nicolaides, 83, delivered an appeal letter to Mr. Rudd last week. “I said to him, as one father to another father, please Mr. Prime Minister, I plead with you to do your utmost to do everything in your power to get Harry released,” Mr. Nicolaides said. His wife Despina Nicolaides, 75, collapsed when she saw the video footage of her son. “He has just written a book,” she said amid tears.

Despina Nicolaides said on Wednesday she appealed to King Bhumibol for a royal pardon, but her family has not received any reply from the Thai government. “We don’t know when really it will be okay for Harry to be released – they don’t say anything,” she said. “I’m worrying sick. I hope that they will help us too like they did the Swiss people,” she added.

According to Foreign Minister Smith, an Australian consular staff in Bangkok visited Nicolaides 25 times in prison. “We understand the anxiety that is being felt by Mr. Nicolaides and his family, however, he is subject to the legal and judicial processes of Thailand,” the Smith’s spokesman said. Moreover, Thai laws require a waiting period of 30 days from promulgation of the sentence before Nicolaides becomes eligible to apply for a Thai King’s pardon.

Cquote1.svg I feel persecuted, to be honest… I want to be given a chance to apologise and explain. Cquote2.svg

—–Harry Nicolaides

Smith mentioned that he had forwarded the Federal Government’s letter to Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya Monday for the Australian writer’s pardon. “I raised Mr. Nicolaides’ case with then Thai Foreign Minister Sompong when we met at APEC in November last year,” Mr. Smith added.

Independent Senator Nicholas (Nick) Xenophon has called on the Australian Federal Government to exert pressure on Thailand for the early repatriation of Nicolaides who has already served five months in jail. He has been refused bail four times. Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and No Pokies, independent in the South Australian Legislative Council.

“The imprisonment has taken a heavy toll on his physical and mental health. He has lost weight, he has been continually unwell for extended periods of time and obviously psychologically he has found the experience of being in prison in Thailand very challenging,” his Australian lawyer, Mark Dean SC said. “Once that sentence is passed, if it’s not a suspended sentence, then an application will be made for a royal pardon and we’re hoping that that will be processed as quickly as possible,” he added.

Acting Premier of Victoria, Justin Hulls said he has enquired about whether Victorian Government can provide assistance to Nicolaides. Hulls’ legal team applied for a Thai royal pardon. His office has also communicated with lawyers of the case and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Nicholas (Nick) Xenophon.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RWB, or Reporters Sans Frontières), a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press, the sentence imposed was “a serious violation of free expression.” The group has expressed concern at the use of the Lèse majesté laws to suppress political discussion and dissenting voices.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Thai police filed a lèse majesté case against Dr. Giles Ji Ungpakorn, 55, a political science professor at Chulalongkorn University and Thailand’s leading leftist political analyst. “The government, the prime minister, should order that they (the lese majeste laws) cease being used against people and that a whole review of the law should take place,” Giles said.

The accusations against Giles stem from the publishing a 2007 anti-military coup book, ‘A Coup for the Rich,’ which can be downloaded free on his blog http://www.wdpress.blog.co.uk. The 144-page critique is an academic textbook dealing with the Thailand political crisis 2005-2006, the bloodless coup of September 19, 2006 which overthrew former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Professor Ungpakorn’s father Puey Ungpakorn was the Bank of Thailand’s governor for 12 years and also a Thammasat University dean, and whose brother Jon Ungpakorn is a former senator.

Giles was duly informed of the charges at the central Pathum Wan Police Station. He was granted 20 days to file a sworn counter-statement to the police, who will then rule on whether to file formal charges in the courts for trial. “Lèse majesté is being used to destroy free speech,” said Giles who denied the charges. “The lès majesté laws are there to protect the military and to protect governments that come to power through military action. They’re not really about protecting the monarchy,” he added.

The Thai people believe that King Bhumibol and the Thai Royal Family are semi-divine. Accordingly, insulting the monarchy is taken extremely seriously in Thailand. Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga earlier vowed to impose tougher regulations to implement the laws. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, however, announced last week that he was trying to “strike the balance between upholding the law and allowing freedom of expression.” Pirapan has reported that more than 10,000 websites have similar criminal contents.

Sulak Sivaraksa.

The Thai government had already blocked about 4,000 websites, including 2,300 websites recently, for alleged violations of lèse majesté law. As of last week, more than 17 criminal cases of insulting the royal family were still pending. About 400 more websites await a court restraining order, according to Information and Communication (ICT) Minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee.

Lèse majesté cases have been filed against several people, including Chotisak On-soong, Jitra Kotchadej, Darunee Charnchoengsilpakul, Suwicha Thakhor, Sondhi Limthongkul, and social activists like Sulak Sivaraksa who were charged in the 1980s and 1990s. The King, however, has routinely granted pardons to most people jailed for lèse majesté. In March 2007, Swiss national Oliver Jufer was convicted of lèse majesté and sentenced to 10 years for spray-painting on several portraits of the king while drunk in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jufer was pardoned by the king on April 12, 2007.

In March 2008, Police Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakarndee filed a similar case against Jakrapob Penkhair for comments made in a Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCCT) event in August 2007. In 2008 BBC south-east Asia correspondent Jonathan Head was accused of lèse majesté three times by Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakarndee. In the most recent case Watanasak filed new charges highlighting a conspiracy connecting Jonathan Head to Veera Musikapong at the FCCT.

Canberra Thai Embassy Minister counselor, Saksee Phromyothi, on Wednesday defended the country’s harsh lèse majesté, saying that, “under Thailand’s constitution, the king was above politics and was prevented from publicly defending himself from personal attacks.” Mr. Saksee explained that “99 per cent of foreigners convicted under this law get pardoned and then we deport them.”



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  • “Sondhi may face arrest over lèse majesté allegations” — Wikinews, April 17, 2006

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December 15, 2008

Thai opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva elected as New Thai Prime Minister

Monday, December 15, 2008

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Thai opposition (Democrat Party) leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (Thai: อภิสิทธิ์ เวชชาชีวะ) won a majority of votes in the House of Representatives of Thailand on Monday and will be named the 27th Prime Minister of Thailand. He got 233 votes against 197 by former national police chief Pracha Promnok, a loyalist of exiled Prime Mininster Thaksin Shinawatra.

When prime minister Samak Sundaravej in 2008, Abhisit lost the National Assembly vote for Prime Minister by 163 votes to 298 for Somchai Wongsawat. Later, however, the 2 December 2008 the Constitutional Court of Thailand decided to banned the three parties including the PPP, which dissolved the governing coalition. The Court also banned Somchai and removed him from office, he was succeeded by a deputy. When it became clear that another government under the For Thais Party or Puea Thai (the successor of the PPP) was not a viable option the remainder of the Chart Thai Party under Sanan Krachonprasat the Thais United National Development Party and Neutral Democratic Party, almost all except for the Royal People Party decided to back a Democrat led coalition thereby endorsing Abhisit as the next Prime Minister.

Abhisit’s election differs however from its confirmation by the Parliament. In this regard, Yahoo reported that “the count in the House of Representatives was unofficial and the chamber needed to official endorse the results before Abhisit could be declared prime minister. The chamber normally has 480 members, but because of vacancies currently numbers 437. One MP died on the eve of the voting.”


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Politics of Thailand and Somchai Wongsawat on Wikipedia.
  • Ambika Ahuja “Thai opposition leader nets votes to become PM”. Yahoo, December 15, 2008
  • “New Thai prime minister elected”. BBC, December 15, 2008
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Thai opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva elected as new Prime Minister

Thai opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva elected as new Prime Minister

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Monday, December 15, 2008

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Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Thai opposition (Democrat Party) leader Abhisit Vejjajiva won a majority of votes in the House of Representatives of Thailand on Monday and will be named the 27th Prime Minister of Thailand. Abhisit, an economist, got 235 votes against 198 by former national police chief and Pheu Pandin leader Pracha Promnok, a loyalist of fugitive Prime Mininster Thaksin Shinawatra.

The nation’s third prime minister in four months, Abhisit, at 44, is set to become the youngest prime minister Thailand has had, and its fifth leader in a little over two years. He will lead a weak coalition government. When prime minister Samak Sundaravej was removed in 2008, Abhisit lost the National Assembly vote for Prime Minister by 163 votes to 298 for Somchai Wongsawat. Later, however, the 2 December 2008 Constitutional Court of Thailand judgment banned the three parties including the PPP, which dissolved the governing coalition. The Court also banned Somchai from politics for five years, and removed him from office. He was succeeded by a deputy.

When it became clear that another government under the For Thais Party or Puea Thai (the successor of the PPP) was not a viable option, the remainder of the Chart Thai Party under Sanan Krachonprasat, the Thais United National Development Party and Neutral Democratic Party, almost all, except for the Royal People Party decided to back a Democrat led coalition thereby endorsing Abhisit as the next Prime Minister.

“Abhisit gained more than half of the vote, therefore I declare that Abhisit has been voted as the new prime minister,” House Speaker Chai Chidchob declared. Abhisit’s election, however, differs however from its confirmation by the Parliament. In this regared. Yahoo reported that “the count in the House of Representatives was unofficial and the chamber needed to official endorse the results before Abhisit could be declared prime minister. The chamber normally has 480 members, but because of vacancies currently numbers 437. One MP died on the eve of the voting.”

Thaksin, who is living in an undisclosed foreign country to evade corruption charges, delivered a pre-recorded video message to about 50,000 supporters at a Bangkok stadium late Saturday. “At the moment the army is interfering… Those people who interfere in forming the government must stop and withdraw,” he said. Army spokesman Colonel Sunsern Kaewkumnerd, however, dismissed his accusations.

Meanwhile, Thaksin’s supporters, from the now-defunct People Power Party and Pheu Thai party, consisting of at least 200 demonstrators blocked access to Thailand’s parliament building. The Nation reported that red shirt protesters “barricaded all gates out of the compound, checked cars trying to leave, while some cars had windows broken with clubs or bricks, and cars carrying MPs who had voted for Mr. Abhisit were not allowed through.” The turmoil results in forcing officials and reporters to cover themselves. A reporter was “injured after a stone hit stone hit his nose, while an anti-riot police suffered head wound after an object hit his head,” it said. “Police failed to calm them down, and they further organised protests in many provinces of Thailand, mostly in the northeastern region,” The Thai newspaper further reported.



Related news

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Politics of Thailand and Somchai Wongsawat on Wikipedia.

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