Thai King’s Sister Is Formally Barred From Running for Prime Minister
By Jennifer Jett
February 11, 2019
Thailand’ election commission on Monday disqualified the king’s sister from running for prime minister, formally putting an end to a candidacy that had briefly upended the nation’s political landscape.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, 66, had publicly opposed the candidacy of his elder sister, Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Varnavadi, 67, effectively preordaining the election commission’s decision.
She was nominated on Friday by a party linked to the Shinawatras, a political family that includes two former prime ministers accused by critics of not showing sufficient respect for Thailand’s royal institutions. The two former leaders — Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shinawatra — were both convicted in absentia of corruption-linked crimes and are living in exile.
In nominating Ms. Ubolratana, the Thai Raksa Chart Party said she was “an educated and skilled person” who was the “most suitable choice.”
Though Ms. Ubolratana gave up her royal titles in 1972 when she married an American, Thailand’s strict laws against criticizing top members of the monarchy raised concerns about how the news media would cover her candidacy.
Ms. Ubolratana’s name was not on the list of 69 candidates released by the election commission on Monday. In a statement, the commission said that members of the royal family were “above politics” and thus ineligible to run for office.
The commission said it had based its decision on King Vajiralongkorn’s comments in a statement late on Friday, in which he called his sister’s candidacy “improper and highly inappropriate.”
“Involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics, in any way, is against the nation’s traditions, customs and culture,” the king’s statement said.
The Thai Raksa Chart Party responded soon after by saying that it would comply with the orders. The Election Commission’s decision on Monday means that the party will not be able to field a candidate for prime minister since the filing deadline has already passed. The commission certified candidates for prime minister from 45 other parties, including some linked to the Shinawatras. Forces loyal to Mr. Thaksin have won every national election in Thailand this century.
The commission is also considering whether to recommend dissolving the Thai Raksa Chart Party on the grounds that it violated electoral law by nominating Ms. Ubolratana. If the commission makes such a recommendation, it would go to the Constitutional Court.
There was no immediate comment from the party on Monday. A news conference it had scheduled for after the commission’s announcement was canceled.
Thailand has been under military rule since a coup in 2014. Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former general and junta chief who was named prime minister that year by a rubber-stamp legislature, has publicly positioned himself as a strong supporter of the royal family.
Mr. Prayuth has also announced his candidacy for prime minister in what will be the first general election since the coup. A military-drafted constitution, however, ensures that the armed forces will retain significant control over politics, no matter who wins.
The election, which has been repeatedly delayed, is scheduled for March 24.
Summary of Article:
Thailand makes their royalty and politics completely distinct from each other. I think that it gives the people equality and gives them an opportunity to be something in the world. But when royalty wants to become a politician it causes conflict between people in that country. That’s what I learned from this news article.
JARAN YANG-YUEN: short story
It is afternoon and the sky is transparent. The sun radiated so fiercely you can see heat waves shimmering. This must be the kind of weather they call terminally hot. It can make sane people go crazy. It sends me fleeing outdoors, unable to sustain the closeness of the low-roofed house.
On a day off – a day of immeasurable value for city dwellers – what I crave for most is lying down at ease to happily absorb myself in reading. I’m careful not to forget to take along things to read every time. Today is no exception. I hold a morning paper, a weekly magazine and a pocket book as I go out.
I squat my bottom on the marble bench by the two jackfruit trees that stand side by side. They have a rather wholesome life, their thick foliage providing pleasant shade. Besides, they are flaunting fruit the size of little watermelons. I’ll soon be eating their soft flesh. Before, there used to be a parachute cloth hammock slung from their trunks, but my naughty nephew thought it was a foe from outer space that had to be annihilated before it could harm the world, so he used his magic sword to slash it to pieces.
The hot wind of the end of the month of love blows on and off. The thick leaves of the jackfruit trees quiver. Some which have turned dark brown come off the branches and fall to the ground, piling up on the earth. Change is what nature is all about: whatever has run its course must leave for new things to be born instead.
A couple of bulbuls dash to a swaying jackfruit branch. As soon as they’ve firmed up their hold, they set up sniffing openly while uttering resounding bulbul! bulbul! calls. Not only that: I don’t know which of the ruddy male or ruddy female lets go of a glob that lands right on the back of my hand. The white and grey gooey stuff smears the junction of the index and middle finger of my right hand. Yuck! I shout and instantly give up reading the newspaper, hurriedly scoop a tissue out of my miniskirt pocket and wipe and wipe and wipe, feeling utterly disgusted, while shivers run down my spine because the avian flu virus is still skulking about these days biding its time, but with their constant holding back for fear of treading on the wrong toes official may not be able to eradicate it and it may stay around as a disease of our society for a long time to come.
I raise my head and look at the birds with resentful eyes. Before dropping their loads, they could at least look if there’s anyone below!
I try to rein in my irritation at being interrupted. I usually buy this newspaper to read on my day off. It’s a politics and business daily paper with a literary insert. Lately I’ve been increasingly interested in what’s going on in writing circles. I’m getting fed up with my marketing job, a job that turns you crazy collecting statistics and data on the double all the time.
I don’t like reading the mass-circulation dailies. They are so full of murder reports that on some days their pages drip with the red of blood. It always boils down to love and hate and greed and hubris It’s all so depressing. Similarly, I’m sick of that political conflict that can’t seem to find a resolution these days. Even though this daily reports the news consistently, I skip those pages. I’m fed up with that crazy story, as I told him last night.
But a marketing job also has its good points. At least it trains me into the habit of keeping data of all sorts, of seeking knowledge. As soon as I find a story I’m interested in, I file it away to read at leisure when time allows. But in the end I never have the time to go through all the clippings I set aside. Day after day the piles of paper in my room keep growing. At the end of the year I have to get rid of them, albeit reluctantly.
The droppings have spoiled my mood, so I decide to read something else. I take the collection of short stories and flip through the page where I last stopped reading. This book was written by a well-known young writer who collected awards from a fairly early age. He was already determined to write when he was in his teens and so he wrote and wrote until he became a fixture of the world of letters, but alas death took him away prematurely.
Actually I bought the book months ago but only read a few pages, and that only recently. It’s as I said: in this life, there are always plenty of things to do, whether related to work, to family, to love even. They eat up so much of your time there’s very little of it left to be yourself.
I intend to read at least half of it, but after going through just a few pages something makes me lose my concentration: loud country music pouring across the fence from the house next door. They’ve pulled down the old house to build a bigger one and they’ve been at it for months – or is it a year already? – but it’s still not finished. They told me they had to find funds for it, so it took some time, because although they’d calculated expenses very carefully they were unable to keep them under control as the cost of materials kept going up and up.
After a while the music is interrupted by the news on thehour. The announcer‟s rousing voice gives way at times to thoseof people in the news. The minister in charge of security is interviewed saying that he fears the rally demanding the ousterof the country‟s leader will grow out of control and a third handmight interfere. He sounds positively worried. Another voice is that of the leader of teachers, one of the protest leaders. His voice is brusque and stentorian. He proclaims that teachers countrywide will stop teaching if that politician doesn‟t resign.
That damn crazy story is haunting me again!
It‟s because of that damn crazy story that I quarrelled with my lover last night. What am I to do when I‟m totally fed up?
They‟ve been going at each other for months and there‟s noprogress to be seen. Show some sympathy: I have to toil away to find money to pay the instalments on the house – half alifetime‟s worth of debt. I only take one day off every week andyou want me to waste it with this nonsense yet again?
A small band of sparrows swoop down on the jackfruit trees and then undertake to make themselves at home, so that I have to take my eyes off the book to look up at them with dis- pleasure, but then yet another spurt of bird shit splashes on the inside of my thigh, missing the seam of my skirt by a whisker. Isee red, yell an obscenity. “Not again! Here I am doing no harm. Why the hell do you keep hassling me?”
When I look up, it isn‟t any sparrow but a shama that shat. It‟shopping about right above my head. Its business done, it spreads its black and white wings to fly from the jackfruit branch to a branch of the mango tree by the fence. I shake myhead, feeling annoyed, but that‟s all I can do. I must get up andhurry to wash my leg at the tap in front of the house before the droppings dry up and stick to my skin. In the afternoon, it‟s nottoo bad, the running water sort of runs. So the tap can be used,unlike at noon when you can‟t find any water around the house.
Once I‟ve washed, I go back to sit on the marble bench as before. Actually I‟d rather lie sprawled out in the hammock, it‟skinder on your back, you can read for as long as you want andwhen you feel drowsy just take a nap. I keep telling myself I‟ll goand buy a new one but I never find the time. Damn that naughty nephew of mine, I tell myself irritably.
I gaze at the street in front of the house and its streams of vehicles speeding back and forth, motorcycles and cars andpickup vans. Even though today is a holiday, many people won‟ttake a rest. It is necessary in life to work hard, but some people,even if they stop working, don‟t seem to know what to do with aday off. They have to scramble to take their family out more.
Summary: 1-2 Paragraphs
The character in the story has a day off and she chooses to spend it underneath some jackfruit trees with some books and a newspaper in hand. She reads and listens about politics. I think that the moral of the story would be that it’s a holiday about politics and that she was trying to get some alone time underneath some jackfruit trees, she only wished that she had a hammock.
The main character in the story examines all the sounds and sights around her. She looks at the trees she is sitting under and sees the fruit hanging from them, they look like tiny watermelons. Birds poop on her and that then changes her mood. She listens to construction workers tear down a house and then start to rebuild one. The radio is on and the congress is talking about politics. She starts to read the newspaper and notices that that is about politics also. I noticed that they called birds bulbuls!
- The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism.
- Population: 69 million, most people live in the in the country’s capital, Bangkok.
- The major language is Thai
- Currency: Baht
- Another major city in Thailand is, Chiang Mai. It is full of misty mountains and vestiges of walls and moats.
The country I selected is Thailand. I selected this country because my cousins went on a trip there, they rode elephants, and spent a lot of time at the beach. The beach always interests me. I expect to learn a lot about Thai people and how they live on an every day basis. They probably don’t have the same traditions as we have, it will be interesting to see what they do and don’t celebrate. Do they celebrate the same holidays as American Citizens? How big is Thailand, and what is its population? Do they drive on the right side of the road, or the left side? What is their traditional dessert? I’m excited to learn more about Thailand!
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