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BANGKOK 20 July 2019 18:19
rooster59

Rival groups demonstrate in Thailand as election tensions grow

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Rival groups demonstrate in Thailand as election tensions grow

By Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Panarat Thepgumpanat

 

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A placard mocking Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha as Pinocchio is seen as activists hold up candles while gathering to demand quick elections to end military rule at a university in Bangkok, Thailand, January 19, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Rival groups held demonstrations in Thailand's capital on Saturday, with hundreds of people demanding quick elections to end military rule and a much smaller group of pro-junta supporters saying it was too soon for a vote.

 

The competing protests were tiny compared to those that paralysed Bangkok in 2014 before the army seized power in the name of ending instability, but were an indication of the tensions in the run-up to a long-delayed ballot.

 

No date has been set for an election which was first promised for 2015 and most recently postponed from Feb. 24.

 

Hundreds joined a demonstration calling for elections on March 10.

 

"We're calling for elections as soon as possible," activist Sirawith Seritiwa told the crowd.

 

The junta has said the most recent election delay is because of scheduling difficulties with planning for the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in early May - although it has said it still wants the ballot held before those ceremonies.

 

The Election Commission of Thailand has given March 10 or March 24 as possible polling dates, but no date has been set and a royal decree must be issued before it can be.

 

Some 1 km (0.6 miles) from the demonstration calling for elections, around 30 counter-protesters gathered with placards at the Democracy Monument. They said they were not opposed to a ballot, but national unity must come first.

 

"We can wait for elections," the group's leader, Jathurun Bunbenjara, told reporters. "We don't agree with protests that create chaos... We want to see Thais come together and hold an auspicious and great coronation."

 

Thailand's longstanding political divide is between strongly royalist and pro-military conservatives and "red shirt" populists linked to exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who have won every election since 2001.

 

Despite measures by the junta to entrench the ruling generals' hold on power after any election, opinion polls have shown that Thaksin's supporters remain politically strong.

 

Activist Sirawith denied that the group intended to create chaos ahead of the coronation - saying that holding elections earlier would reduce that danger.

 

It will be the first Thai coronation in living memory. The king's revered late father ruled for more than 70 years until his death in 2016.

 

REUTERS: 2019-01-20

 

 

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32 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

and a much smaller group of pro-junta supporters saying it was too soon for a vote.

No prizes for guessing who recruited these misguided fools or for wondering if their participation would be 'funded'.

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A few hundred demonstrators. Lol.

I doubt if the military junta will be too concerned about this demonstration when they decide to postpone the election again. 

Apathy is alive and kicking.

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14 minutes ago, robblok said:

Too bad that the people don't realise that for Thailand to progress they need honest politicians not corrupt ones. 

I am not sure they have ever experienced this phenomenon. Would be hard for them to realise there are honest politicians, I certainly don't remember too many. 

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3 minutes ago, PatOngo said:

I am not sure they have ever experienced this phenomenon. Would be hard for them to realise there are honest politicians, I certainly don't remember too many. 

They probably don't get that as long as there is so much corruption (money to be made when in power) the fight to be in power will go on. The more money at stake the dirtier the fight will be, bombings, coups, streetfights / protests. The circle will go on and on. 

 

The people saying respect elections are right but as long as there is so much money at stake it just won't happen. Especially when those wanting power see how corrupt those in power are and know how much they are losing out. Root out the corruption with good laws and organisations and the appeal to get in power will be less as there is not that much money to be made anymore.

 

Until that history will repeat itself again and again.

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Sure to slow tourism ,and take the eye off toxic air quality...''Never let a good disaster go to waste''.

Edited by mok199
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