Human right issues

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  • 1. HUMAN RIGHT ISSUES
    NAME : VINOUSHINEY KUNASEGRAN
    GOWRI ALAGAPPAN
    TITLE : ELECTIONS
    COUNTRY : THAILAND
    SUBJECT : INTRODUCTION TO
    COMPUTER AND
    APPLICATION
  • 2. Elections in Thailand
    Thailand
    Elections in Thailand (Thai: การเลือกตั้งในประเทศไทย) refers to the democratic process in which some parts of the Government of Thailand is selected. These include the House of Representatives of Thailand, the Senate of Thailand (combined to create National Assembly of Thailand), local Administrations, Governorship of Bangkok and national referendums. Thailand have so far had 25 general elections since 1933, the last election was in 2011. Voting in elections in Thailand is compulsory. All elections in Thailand are regulated by the Election Commission of Thailand.
  • 3. Suffrage
    Elections are held under universal suffrage in accordance with the 2007 Constitution; however certain restrictions apply:
    The voter must be a national of Thailand; if not by birth then by being a citizen for 5 years.
    Must be over 18 years old before the year the election is held.
    The voter must have also registered ninety days before the election at his constituency.
    Those barred from voting in House elections are: members of the sangha or clergy, those suspended from the privilege (for various reasons), detainees under legal or court orders and being of unsound mind or of mental infirmity.
    Voting in elections are also mandatory missing an election will result in minor tax penalties and other penalties.
    Example ballot paper on show at voting booth, 2007
  • 4. House of Representatives
    The House of Representatives consists of 480 members, of which 400 is directly elected through the first past the post system in where each member represents one constituency. The other 80 is elected through "Proportional representation", in fact it is a form of parallel voting or Mixed Member Majoritarian system (MMM), in which the voter first casts a vote for his or her constituency MP and then a second vote for party preference. At the end of election the 80 seats are allotted in accordance with these second votes, through Party lists given to the election commission by political parties before election day. Party list MPs are select from on 6 lists based on six "electoral areas":
  • 5. Area 1 : 11 provinces with 7,615,610 population - Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Nan, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, and KamphaengPhet
    Area 2 : 9 provinces with 7,897,563 population - NakhonSawan, UthaiThani, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Chaiyaphum, KhonKaen, Lop Buri, and Uttaradit
    Area 3 : 10 provinces with 7,959,163 population - NongKhai, UdonThani, Loei, NakhonPhanom, SakonNakhon, NongBuaLamphu, Kalasin, Mukdahan, MahaSarakham, and Amnat Charoen
    Area 4 : 6 provinces with 7,992,434 population - Roi Et, Yasothon, UbonRatchathani, Si Sa Ket, Surin, and Buri Ram
    Area 5 : 10 provinces with 7,818,710 population - NakhonRatchasima, NakhonNayok, PrachinBuri, Sa Kaeo, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, and PathumThani
    Area 6 : 3 provinces with 7,802,639 population - Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and SamutPrakan
    Area 7 : 15 provinces with 7,800,965 population - Kanchanaburi, SuphanBuri, NakhonPathom, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, PrachuapKhiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, PhraNakhon Si Ayutthaya, Saraburi, SamutSakhon, and SamutSongkhram
    Area 8 : 12 provinces with 7,941,622 population - SuratThani, PhangNga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Phuket, Trang, Phatthalung, Satun, Songkhla, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala
  • 6. Special elections can be called if the candidate fail to pass the commission's standards (Known as yellow-cards) or if a vacancy occurs. The commission also have the authority to annul or ban candidates based on their standards (Red-cards). The term for the House is 4 years not fixed. The last election for the House occurred in 2007.
    The electoral system was changed on 11 February 2011, with an increase to 500 seats in the House, of which 375 will come from constituencies and 125 from party lists.[1] Furthermore the Division of the party list into Area lists was abolished.
  • 7. Senate
    The Senate is composed of 150 members. Of these, 76 are directly elected, while 74 members are appointed. Of the elected members, 75 come from the Provinces of Thailand, and one from the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. The Senate is a non-partisan chamber and therefore candidates cannot be a member of a political party. The election is based on the First Past the Post system. Terms are fixed at six years. The last election for the Senate occurred in 2008.
    Election Day during the 2007 general election
  • 8. Local Administration
    There are three different levels of municipalities (Thai: เทศบาล):
    thesabannakhon (city): More than 50,000 citizens, population density higher than 3,000 per km²
    thesabanmueang (town): More than 10,000 citizens, population density higher than 3,000 per km² - or a provincial capital
    thesabantambon (subdistrict municipality): More than 5,000 citizens, population density higher than 1,500 per km²
    All of these elect their own district councils and Mayor. there are 36 district councils. The election follow a 4 years cycle.
  • 9. City of Bangkok
    Councils
    Bangkok is divided into 14 local district councils, while there are 57 seats in the Bangkok Metropolitan Council, (BMW). The election follow a 4 years cycle. Most recent local election was in 2006.
    Gubernatorial
    The Governor of Bangkok is one of two, elected Governors in the country (Pattaya being the other). The Governor holds a four years renewable term. The election of the governor does not coincide with that of the district council or of the BMC. The most recent election for Governor of Bangkok was in 2009.
    Referendums
    There has only been one referendum and that was for the 2007 Constitution of Thailand.
  • 10. Issues
    There has been many issues especially in recent years concerning elections in Thailand. Accusation of vote buying and blackmail has been most cited. Most accusations leveled concerns vote buying particularly in rural areas where representatives of political parties or district captains are sent out offering up to 2,000 Baht for a vote. Others concern cheating and ballot tempering.
    Other issues concern the powers of the Election Commission, an unelected and unaccountable body of five, which has absolute authority to cancel elections at will. It is also the sole arbiter and interpreter of Thai election laws. It has been incredibly active in the last two general elections in annulling and disqualifying candidates.
    Voter turnout during elections is not much of a problem in Thailand as voting is compulsory and is one of the responsibilities described in the Constitution a citizen must exercise. Turnout is however much higher during general elections (85% in 2007) than they are for Senate (56% in 2008) or local elections (54% for Bangkok Governor in 2008).
  • 11. The Election Commission of the Kingdom of Thailand (Thai: คณะกรรมการการเลือกตั้ง; RTGS: KhanaKammakan Kan Lueak Tang; Abrv: ECT) is an independent government agency and the sole Electoral Commission of Thailand tasked with overseeing Senate, House, local and district elections throughout the Kingdom of Thailand. Established by the Constitution, the Election Commission (EC) has extensive powers to manage, oversee, and regulate the electoral process. The EC adopted a highly interventionist approach to the 2000 Senate elections, the 2006 House elections, and the 2007 House elections, forcing re-elections and disqualifying many candidates.
  • 12. Thailand 2011
    A general election was held in Thailand on July 3, 2011. All 500 seats in Thailand’s lower house, the House of Representatives were up for grabs. 375 were elected in single-member constituencies through FPTP while the remaining 125 were elected through party-list proportional representation in multi-member regional constituencies. My preview post tells you all you need to know to grasp the basic of Thai politics.
  • 13. The election saw a massive victory for the Pheu Thai party of YingluckShinawatra, the 43-year old sister of former Prime Minister ThaksinShinawatra, the controversial dominating figure of Thai politics since 2001 who has spent most of the past five years in exile since his 2006 overthrow in a military coup. Yingluck’sPheu Thai, the third incarnation of Thaksin’s original TRT party, won an overall majority and easily defeated AbhisitVejjajiva’s governing Democrat Party. The Thaksinites are a populist movement known for its social and welfare policies, but hated by the governing elites who see him as a corrupt authoritarian demagogue. The Thaksinites see the governing monarchist elites as ultra-conservative authoritarian reactionaries. Objectively, Thailand is not a black-white situation with the good people and the bad people (but then, are there any black-white situation in politics?).
  • 14. Pheu Thai winning 265 seats (204 FPTP, 61 PR) [+76]Democrat winning 159 seats (115 FPTP, 44 PR) [-14]Bhumjaithai Party winning 34 seats (29 FPTP, 5 PR) [+2]Chartthaipattana Party winning 19 seats (15 FPTP, 4 PR) [-6]Palung Chon winning 7 seats (6 FPTP, 1 PR) [+7]Chart PattanaPueaPandin winning 7 seats (5 FPTP, 2 PR) [-34]Rak Thailand winning 4 seats (4 PR) [+4]Matubhum winning 2 seats (1 FPTP, 1 PR) [-1]RakSanti winning 1 seat (1 PR) [+1]New Democrat winning 1 seat (1 PR) [+1]Mahachon Party winning 1 seat (1 PR) [+1]
  • 15. Yingluck’sPheu Thai Party, the latest incarnation of the Thaksinite populist movement, won a significant victory. While perhaps it is not quite a landslide, the PT’s ability to win an absolute majority makes this victory all the more significant. With 263 seats, 12 more than an absolute majority, it theoretically has won the ability to govern on its own without resorting to unreliable support from Thailand’s plethora of venal corrupt third parties and personality cults. But this is Thailand, and stuff is never that simple. The first thing to note is that while these elections have seen the majority change from Prime Minister AbhisitVejjajiva’s conservative Democrats to the populist ‘left-wing’ Pheu Thai, Thailand remains a very polarized country. Outside the parties, one of the the country’s two large popular movements: the Thaksinite UDD red-shirts and the reactionary monarchist PAD yellow-shirts, is prone to fight the government. The second thing is of course that the military, which has played a key role in Thai politics since 1932, will be unhappy with these results.
  • 16. For the second time since the 2006 coup where it stepped in to overthrow Thaksin, its preferred option has been soundly defeated at the polls by the party it hates. The political and business elites of Thailand, who side with the military when it comes to politics, has also been defeated for the umpteenth time at the polls.
    The military overthrew Thaksin in a coup in 2006 and played a key role in bringing down Thaksinite governments (either through judicial, legislative or other means) in 2008 when they finally were able to help place Abhisit in power. The military has said (again) that they’re finished with politics and won’t stage a coup, but the Thai military apparently makes a living out of lying about such stuff. While the time is past for coups and that kind of stuff – the military probably knows that staging a coup to prevent the uncontested winners of a fair election to gain power (the 2006 election, held shortly before the coup, was not as fair – so they had an excuse) is not a good idea and risks creating unprecedented chaos in the country by aggravating the UDD’s anger. However, the military isn’t for that matter going to sit back and play toy soldiers while letting the Thaksinites go along their business.
  • 17. Economically, investors worry about rising inflation and the effects that the PT’s spending spree policies will have on inflation. But investors aren’t worried – after all, Thailand is something of a miraculous enigma in that its political unrest since 2006 hasn’t really affected its economy. Furthermore, both Democrats and PT are pro-business parties and keep the investors happy in their corner.
    On a final note, happy Independence Day to all American readers. The US remains this blog’s top visitor with over 5400 visits from the US since February this year. Thank you!
  • 18. THANK YOU