Thai reform council to be set up while election goes on

Acting Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday she will soon set up a “council for reforms of the country” which will begin to work in parallel to the upcoming Feb. 2 election.

Yingluck announced that the council, to be set up under prime minister’s order, will include 499 members who will be selected from among 2,000 representatives of people in all walks of life nationwide.

An 11-member ad hoc committee will be formed to select the 2, 000 representatives who will later pick the 499 members of the reform council among themselves, according to the acting premier.

The committee will include either the supreme commander or army chief or navy chief or air force chief, a university rector, two ministerial undersecretaries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce president, the Federation of Thai Industries president, the Thai Bankers Association president, the National Economic & Social Development Board secretary general and two other qualified persons.

She said the 499-member council will lay out plans for the reform of the country’s political, social and economic sectors to be endorsed and implemented immediately after the nationwide election is finished, a post-election cabinet is set up and parliament reopens.

“The reform council should pave groundwork for promoting public participation in political affairs and in pursuing national and public interests, examining performances of the executive branch and finding ways and means to fight corruption.

“Given brainstorms being compiled from all sides, the prime minister’s order for the setting up of the reform council should be issued before the end of this year,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission will consider relocating the venue for the application of electoral candidates since the one inside the compound of a Bangkok stadium was occupied by anti- government protesters on Wednesday.

The lot-drawing for electoral numbers is expected on Thursday at a certain place yet to be announced by the polling agency, according to Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn.

The application for party-listed candidates opens until Friday, followed by that for individual constituency-based candidates which will begin from Saturday until next Wednesday.

Tear gas fired to keep Thai protesters from sabotaging electoral process

Police fired tear gas at the anti-government protesters who had tried to disrupt Thursday’s electoral process at a Bangkok stadium.

The policemen managed to secure the perimeters of the stadium while the protesters tried to force their way through the gates but were largely deterred by tear gas. -- File photo

The policemen managed to secure the perimeters of the stadium while the protesters tried to force their way through the gates but were largely deterred by tear gas. -- File photo

Hundreds of the protesters who had tried to invade into the stadium were dispersed by the tear gas fired from inside the compound in Dindaeng area where representatives of 30 political parties vying in the February 2 election drew lots for electoral numbers.

The policemen managed to secure the perimeters of the stadium while the protesters tried to force their way through the gates but were largely deterred by tear gas. At a few spots further from the stadium, police fired rubber bullets in addition to tear gas to drive away the unruly crowds.

Squads of army soldiers were also deployed to help keep the protesters from invading and obstructing the electoral process which had been put off from Monday amid the prolonged street protest.

It took barely half an hour for the lot-drawing to get done in the presence of Election Commission chief Supachai Somcharoen who arrived in the stadium before the protesters did in the morning.

Following the application for the party-listed candidates is that for constituency-based candidates from Saturday until next Wednesday.

Major parties contesting the nationwide polls include the Pheu Thai (for Thais) Party (No.15) under whose tickets acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra is seeking re-election, the Chart Thai Pattana (developed Thailand) Party (No. 14) under whose banners former premier Banharn Silapa-acha is seeking re-election, the Chart Pattana (developed country) Party (No. 1) and the Bhum Jai Thai ( proud Thais) Party (No. 6).

The Democrat Party, headed by former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, is boycotting the election after it had called in vain for postponement until the country has undergone “reforms.”

Yingluck said on Wednesday she will set up a “council for reforms of the country” while the electoral process will go on until early February. The council which will consist of 499 members from all walks of life will forward its proposals for the reforms to the post-election government and parliament so that they will be approved and implemented promptly, she said.

Source: Xinhuanet

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