The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 10 February 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 10, 2014

 

 The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(10FEB14)

 

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

 

Political Unrest Continues in Thailand

 

 

 

This week’s snapshot focuses on the ongoing political crisis in Thailand, where anti-government protestors have occupied key sites since mid-January. The People’s Democratic Reform Committee and its supporters are calling for a new government in place of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the ruling Pheu Thai Party. Though the country recently went to the polls, the general election was plagued by disruption and has yet to bring the country’s crisis to a halt.

 

News Summary of events during the week of 03FEB-10FEB

  • On 03FEB, the US warned against the staging of a military coup in Thailand. (AFP)
  • On 03FEB, anti-government protestors retreated from two key intersections in Bangkok that have been occupied since 13JAN. (DPA)
  • On 04FEB, Thailand’s opposition sought to annul elections held on 26JAN, as well as disband the ruling party. (AFP)
  • On 04FEB, the UN said it would not condone any actions that undermine democracy in the country. (DPA)
  • On 06FEB, dozens of rice farmers demonstrated in Bangkok after the government failed to pay above-market rates for rice, as promised. (AFP)
  • On 07FEB, the petition to annul Thailand’s general election was rejected. (NYT)
  • On 07FEB, the Electoral Commission decided to hold a new round of voting for 10,284 polling stations that were blocked by protesters on 02FEB. (Xinhua)
  • On 08FEB, an explosion at a protest site in Bangkok killed two people. (AP)

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding political upheaval in Thailand

@sunaibkk – Sunai Phasuk, senior Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch

@RichardBarrow – Richard Barrow, travel blogger based in Bangkok, covering  the protests

@whitegirlinasia – Tara Milutis, documentary filmmaker based between Bangkok & NYC

@Kelly_macnamara – Kelly Macnamara, AFP correspondent in Bangkok

@fratticcioli – Alessio Fratticcioli, digital journalist & Thailand expert based in Bangkok

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding SUBJECT

 

Fred Gibson, Associate Economist, Moody’s Analytics

“Thailand wants to be the Detroit of Southeast Asia, but they need additional foreign investment…With this political upheaval, you’re not going to get that.”

– Thailand Political Upheaval Dents Foreign Auto Makers’ Results, Wall Street Journal, 07FEB14

 

Vorapak Tanyawong, President, Krung Thai Bank

“[The bank] doesn’t want to get involved in corruption…But if [government officials] want the money to get in the hands of the farmers, 100 percent and not illegally, through a normal transaction by a financial institute, then our bank is ready to consider.”

– Thailand’s flagship rice buying policy turns sour, Associated Press, 06FEB2014

 

Virat Jaturaphutphitak, Vice President, Association of Thai Travel Agents

“It’s terrible. It’s worse than ever. We can’t see an end to it… If this situation continues, we will have to close many businesses.”

– Thai firms feel squeeze from crisis, seek solution, Associated Press, 29JAN14

 

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University

“We are looking at a very volatile situation from now until the election. I predict more deaths and casualties, despite the emergency decree being put in place.”

– Thai State of Emergency Fails to Quell Protests, Wall Street Journal, 22JAN14

 

Santitarn Sathirathai , Economist, Credit Suisse

“Amid all the uncertainty we have in Thailand right now, one thing that is certain is that the infrastructure projects will not get going until late this year at best.”

-Continuing Unrest Could Undermine Thailand’s Economy, New York Times, 30JAN14

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to SUBJECT

 

1. US cautions against Thai military coup

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 03 February 2014

 

WASHINGTON, Feb 03, 2014 (AFP) – The United States Monday warned against moves to stage a military coup in Thailand and said it was “concerned that political tensions” are challenging the Southeast Asian nation’s democracy.

 

“We certainly do not want to see a coup or violence… in any case of course. We are speaking directly to all elements in Thai society to make clear the importance of using democratic and constitutional means to resolve political differences,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said after disrupted weekend elections.

 

While there had been “peaceful and orderly polling” in most areas on Sunday “but there were also disturbing incidents of violence on the eve of the election,” as well as efforts to block voters getting to the polls, she said.

 

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2. Thai opposition seeks to annul election, disband ruling party

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 04 February 2014

 

BANGKOK, Feb 04, 2014 (AFP) – Thailand’s opposition is set Tuesday to demand the annulment of last weekend’s election and the dissolution of the ruling party, in a legal offensive that threatens to intensify the kingdom’s political agony.

 

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called Sunday’s snap election in a bid to defuse mass rallies that have dogged her government for three months, sparked deadly violence in Bangkok and thrust the kingdom into prolonged political turmoil.

 

The latest legal move by the opposition, which plans to file a legal challenge to the polls in the Constitutional Court later Tuesday, came as the United States warned against any moves to stage a military coup, in the most outspoken remarks yet by a major ally.

 

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3. Thai farmers protest in new challenge to PM

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 06 February 2014

 

BANGKOK, Feb 06, 2014 (AFP) – Dozens of Thai rice farmers mounted a protest in Bangkok on Thursday in the latest show of public anger against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s embattled government.

 

A controversial scheme to guarantee farmers above-market rates for rice has become a lightning rod for anger among Yingluck’s critics, who say it has encouraged corruption, drained the public coffers and left the country with a mountain of unsold stock.

 

About 200 rice farmers, accompanied by trucks and combine harvesters, massed outside the commerce ministry in protest at the lack of payment under the scheme, which knocked the kingdom from its position as the world’s top rice exporter in 2012.

 

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4. Thailand to hold new voting for blocked polling stations

 

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 07 February 2014

 

BANGKOK, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — Thai Election Commission (EC) Friday decided to hold a new round of voting for Jan. 26 advance voting and for 10,284 polling stations that were blocked by protesters in Feb. 2 general election.

 

EC commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said Friday that new voting would be held in seven provinces, including Rayong, Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani, Satun, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap, where polling stations were blocked by protesters on Feb. 2. However, the specific time for the new round of voting is yet to be announced.

 

Meanwhile, voting would not be held again at the polling stations where voting had taken place and were later disrupted by protesters, Somchai said, adding that the EC would count the ballots that were successfully cast.

 

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5. Petition to Nullify Thai Election Is Rejected in Setback for Opposition

 

Media: New York Times

Byline: N/A

Date: 07 February 2014

 

BANGKOK — A petition to nullify Thailand’s general election was rejected Friday on procedural grounds by the country’s ombudsman, a setback for the opposition Democrat Party, which is allied with protesters trying to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

 

A related petition that the Democrat Party filed with the country’s Constitutional Court is still pending, however, and the fate of the election remains uncertain. The vote on Feb. 2 was disrupted after protesters blocked voters from registering and casting ballots in Bangkok and southern Thailand.

 

Days after the vote, there are contradictory signals about which side has the upper hand in Thailand’s debilitating power struggle.

 

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6. 2 Injured in Explosion at Bangkok Protest Site

 

Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 08 February 2014

 

Two men were injured in a small explosion at an anti-government protest site in Bangkok on Saturday, the latest violence to mark the political showdown that has gripped Thailand for the past three months.

 

The men were hurt following an explosive sound behind the stage at the protest site in northern Bangkok, said Erawan emergency medical services, which tracks protest-related casualties.

 

At least 10 people have been killed and scores injured in connection with the protests.

 

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