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

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora