News / Asia

Thai Senate Vote Likely Favors Government

An official sits in front of a board with lists of candidate as she waits for voters at a polling station in Bangkok during a vote to elect a new Senate March 30, 2014.
An official sits in front of a board with lists of candidate as she waits for voters at a polling station in Bangkok during a vote to elect a new Senate March 30, 2014.
Reuters
Unofficial results of Thailand's weekend Senate election suggest a pro-government majority, a rare piece of good news for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is battling negligence charges brought by the national anti-graft commission.
        
Yingluck has been charged with dereliction of duty for her role in overseeing a disastrous state rice-buying scheme that has run up huge losses. Should the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) forward the case to the Senate for possible impeachment, she could be removed from office.
          
That would require the votes of three-fifths of the Senate. Thailand's 150-seat Senate is made up of 77 elected senators. The other 73 are appointed and are largely seen as opponents of the government.
          
Sunday's election results have likely thrown a wrench into the plans of protesters who have been rallying for months in a bid to oust Yingluck and rid the country of the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
          
Preliminary results released by the Election Commission on Monday show winning candidates in the north and northeast, Thaksin strongholds, are largely linked to the ruling Pheu Thai Party and Thaksin's now-defunct Thai Rak Thai party.
          
“Definitely the names we're seeing on the list of winners are mostly pro-government, with ties to the ruling party and coalition party,” said Paiboon Nititawan, an appointed senator who has sided with anti-government protesters in the past.
          
“It is not possible that the Senate will get the three-fifths of votes needed to remove the prime minister,” Paiboon continued.
          
An early analysis by the Nation Multimedia Group shows the government and coalition partners winning more than 50 percent of the 77 contested seats.
          
While the Senate is officially non-partisan, the majority of the 77 elected seats were likely decided on the basis of endorsements from powerful, party-affiliated institutions.
          
Elected senators could be endorsed within seven days, Norarat Pimsen, secretary general of the Senate, told Reuters, and new senators could report for duty by April 18.
          
It remains unclear when the NACC will decide whether to forward Yingluck's case to the Senate, dragging out weeks of uncertainty and leaving Yingluck at the helm of a caretaker government with limited powers.
          
Plot thickens
      
Meanwhile, another legal challenge is emerging. A group of 27 senators has petitioned the Constitutional Court to rule that Yingluck’s removal of National Security Chief Thawil Pliensree in 2011 violated the constitution. A court ruling reinstated him last week.
          
The Constitutional Court will decide on Wednesday whether to accept the case.
          
“The anti-government side are plotting different ways to remove the government,” said political analyst Kan Yuenyong at Siam Intelligence Unit, a think tank.
          
“They will go at it from every angle they can, throwing legal challenges at the prime minister until one sticks,” he added.
          
Yingluck defended herself on Monday against the negligence charges and asked for time to submit evidence in her defense. The commission will decide on Tuesday whether to extend the deadline.
          
Protesters first took to the streets in November to oppose a controversial amnesty bill that critics said would have allowed for Thaksin's return. The bill was eventually rejected by the Senate but protests continued and new demands emerged.
          
The protests are the latest round of an eight-year political battle that broadly pits Bangkok's middle class and conservative establishment against Yingluck and Thaksin's supporters in the north and northeast.
          
Twenty-three people have died in politically related violence since late November.
          
The protests have now shifted from the streets to a base camp in a Bangkok park as Yingluck's “red shirt” supporters hatch plans to thwart any move to dismiss her.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid