Pattaya Daily News

04 May 2011 :: 09:05:47 am 53491

Election Commission Bans Discussion Of Monarchy

Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) authorities on Monday have banned discussion of the monarchy in campaigning for the first national election since the political violence erupted in 2010.
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The poll’s body has not revealed the details of the new rules, which were announced at a meeting on Monday with political representatives.

“The EC will discuss details of the ban later,” said Apichart Sukananond, the body’s chairman, suggesting that parties who disobey the rules may be dissolved and their leaders may be banned for five years.

Debate about the role of the monarchy is a taboo in Thailand as the country prepares its national election in early July.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva supported the ban stating that the monarchy was “above politics and conflicts”, while the main opposition party Puea thai pledged to respect the rules.

Other parties also agreed to follow the ban but some requested for the details of the rules such as whether the candidate or the whole party would be punished if the order was violated.

Insulting the monarchy is a serious offence in Thailand with the punishment of up to 15 years in jail.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is the world’s longest reigning monarch, has been hospitalised since September 2009.

The 83-year-old King has no official political position but acts as a unifying figure in Thailand that has been frequently divided by political violence, particularly since the military coup d’état in 2006.

Thailand remains deeply separated a year after opposition rallies by the violent “Red Shirt” movement that killed more than 90 people in clashes between protestors and armed troops in Bangkok.

Some top Red Shirts have been accused of disloyalty to the crown.

Based on the instruction of chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, the military filed a complaint in April against three “Red Shirt” leaders for allegedly insulting the monarchy during rally speeches.

General Prayut said, “the army will do its duty to protect the monarchy”.

Many of the working-class Red Shirt members support the fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, whose prime minister position was overthrown in the 2006 military coup d’état. He now lives overseas to avoid a jail term imposed in absentia in graft.

The army chief has pledged to abide by the results of the upcoming election. However, there are still speculations about possible military intervention in a country that has experienced 18 actual or attempted coups since 1932.

Report By: ABS-CBN News

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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