News / Asia

    Thailand Military Begins Electoral System Overhaul

    FILE - Thailand's Army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, left, arrives at the Royal Thai Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand.
    FILE - Thailand's Army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, left, arrives at the Royal Thai Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand.
    VOA News

    Thailand's military government said on Monday it had begun an  overhaul of the electoral system following an announcement by junta leader General Prayuth Chan-Ocha that polls could take place by late 2015.

    Thai authorities also said Monday they have revoked the passports of six people wanted on arrest warrants, including two who founded an anti-coup movement in exile, as the military junta continues to promote obeisance to its rule, according to the Associated Press.

    The military took power in a bloodless coup on May 22 following six months of street demonstrations that contributed to the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

    A court had already ordered her to step down after finding her guilty of abuse of power on May 7.

    Surasak said political party reform, decentralization of power and “investigations and penalties for those groups that commit electoral fraud” were top on the military's agenda.

    “We will talk about obstacles to an election and corruption,” Surasak told reporters ahead of a meeting later on Monday with the Election Commision.

    The junta, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order, has scrapped the constitution and its leader, Prayuth, said on Friday that a new, temporary charter would be ready in July.

    The army chief said this would allow an interim cabinet to be installed by September and a reform council would then start work on a longer-term constitution.

    He also said in his weekly televised speech that a general election could be held around October 2015, the firmest date he has given until now.

    Canceled passports

    After taking power by coup, the junta has summoned hundreds of people for discussion, interrogation and detention - usually for a maximum of a week. The six are among a handful who defied the summons.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs canceled the Thai passports of ex-Interior Minister Charupong Reuangsuwan and Jakrapob Penkair, once a government spokesman, who formed an opposition group last week, said the ministry's Permanent Secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow.

    The pair set up the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy on June 24  the anniversary of the revolution in 1932 that changed Thailand from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional one.

    The others whose passports were revoked are two suspects in alleged anti-monarchy defamation cases, an ex-lawmaker from the former ruling party and a Red Shirt political group member. The arrest warrant for Charupong and the former parliamentarian also cites their defiance of the summons to meet with the junta, the AP reported.

    The United States and European Union downgraded diplomatic ties with Thailand after the coup. Washington has called for a quick return to civilian government and a move toward “free and fair elections.”

    Anti-government protesters

    The junta's plans for sweeping electoral reforms echo demands made by the anti-government demonstrators who hounded Yingluck.

    They wanted reforms before a new election and disrupted a Feb. 2 vote that was later annulled by a court.

    Anti-coup protests have largely dwindled in recent weeks and the few that dare show dissent in public have been promptly detained by police and soldiers.

    In its latest public-relations effort, the junta displayed more than 1,000 weapons on Sunday it said were seized from political activists, including Jakrapob.

    In a Facebook post, Jakrapob denied any link to the weapons, saying his campaign was one of non-violent civil disobedience.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora