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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More