Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:18am IST
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s People Power Party (PPP), taken over by followers of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, will emerge from a Dec. 23 general election as the biggest party but short of a majority, an independent poll shows.
The poll by the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University showed the PPP would win 180 of the 480 parliamentary seats at stake with the main rival, the Democrat Party, winning 160.
It said 38.6 percent of 4,410 respondents favoured the PPP and 32.3 percent planned to vote for the Democrats, Thailand’s oldest political party.
The poll, released on Sunday, was in line with general expectations after Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party was dissolved and most of its leaders banned from politics for five years for election fraud.
The PPP and Democrats will battle to be the biggest party, which will be in pole position to form a weak coalition government under a new constitution designed to prevent one big party taking power.
The PPP, a fringe party taken over by Thaksin followers after Thai Rak Thai was dissolved in the wake of the September 2006 coup which deposed him, will benefit from the continuing support for Thaksin in the countryside.
Although he has lived in exile in London since he was ousted, Thaksin appears to have lost none of his attraction in rural areas which swept him to two landslide election victories.
An August referendum on the new constitution showed many people against it in areas where Thaksin was popular.
The Democrats, a mainly middle-class party, was expected to capture 22 of the 36 seats in Bangkok in December and the PPP 12, the poll showed.
To form a government, the PPP and Democrats would need the support of the Chart Thai (Thai Nation), which the poll expects to win around 50 seats, or the Matchitma Thipataya (Middle Path Democracy) party, which is expected to win 45 seats. The support of tiny parties would also be crucial.
All parties running in the poll have adopted populist policies similar to those of Thaksin, who offered farmers cheap loans and health care and development funds.
Thailand: Former PM’s party may win poll, says survey
Bangkok, 12 Nov. (AKI) – Thailand’s People’s Power Party (PPP) – the party that replaced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai – seems the favorite to win the most votes at next month’s election, a recent survey shows.
According to a Suan Dusit Rajabhat University Poll, the PPP is likely to win 180 seats while the Democrat Party is expected to win fewer than 160.
But the Democrats are expected to win a majority of the 22 seats in Bangkok.
The new parliament will have 400 seats from the constituency system, and another 80 from the party list.
The December election will be the first parliamentary poll since the bloodless coup that swept Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power in September 2006.
The coup followed months of anti-Thaksin protests during which the former prime minister was accused of corruption, abuse of power and human rights abuse.
Throughout the standoff, Thaksin maintained the support of the rural areas where 70 percent of Thailand’s 66 million people live.
That level of support remained due to a series of populist policies introduced by Thaksin during his time in office. He initiated two key healthcare policies including subsidised universal health care and universal access to HIV medication.
Thaksin also introduced controversial anti drug policies to eradicate methamphetamine use and a tougher campaign to stop drug trafficking.
Thaksin first came to power after his party won a majority of parliamentary seats in January 2001 elections.
Four years on, TRT scored better still – capturing 375 of 500 seats in February 2005.The party won an even larger majority in the 2 April, 2006, snap elections, called by Thaksin, boycotted by the opposition and eventually voided by the court.
The coup leaders, who call themselves the Council for National Security, promised to return the country to civilian rule when they took control.
They introduced an interim constitution which gives them the power to hire and fire the government as well as the acting parliament.
A new constitution was approved by voters in a referendum in August 2007.
Thaksin shocked by ‘sleeping giant’ City’s league start
BANGKOK, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra admits he is surprised by the club’s league start and believes he has woken “a sleeping giant” capable of qualifying for Europe this season.
The ousted former Thai prime minister is confident his family’s 81 million pounds ($164 million) purchase of the club, who are third in the English Premier League, will land them a UEFA Cup spot this season and silverware in the future.
“When I first started to discuss about buying Manchester City we hoped to be in the top 10, but now I think we can get into the UEFA Cup,” Thaksin said in an interview with broadcaster ESPN.
“We are a sleeping giant. I’m glad to be the one to wake that giant.”
The exiled billionaire bought the struggling club in July, 10 months after he was ousted in a coup which the military said was provoked by rampant corruption in his government.
Within weeks of his takeover, which army-appointed Thai investigators are probing for legitimacy, Thaksin brought in former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson and put up 40 million pounds for new players.
City have since notched-up seven consecutive home wins and are in the League Cup quarter-finals. The club finished 14th in the Premier League last season.
Thaksin, who insists his purchase of City was legitimate, credits their impressive start to teamwork and shrewd spending.
“I thought we will bring success to this club but I did not expect it to be this quick,” he said.
“There is a blend of the old players and the new, there is a chemistry… they play well together, there is good team spirit. Everything came together quite quickly.” (Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Greg Stutchbury) (email@example.com; +66 89 607 0413; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org. For Reuters Premier League and international football news: http://football.uk.reuters.com))
Man City to sign three Thai players
BANGKOK (AFP) — English Premier League club Manchester City, owned by ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, plan to sign three Thai players, a football club chairman said Monday.
City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, who took the helm after Thaksin bought the club in July, is due to arrive in Thailand on Friday to make the signings, said Vittaya Khunpleum, chairman of Thai side Chonburi FC.
Two of the players — Suree Sukha and Kietprawut Sai-aeo — come from his club, while the other player is Theerasil Daengda from Bangkok’s Muangthong-Nongchok United FC, Vittaya said.
He said the chairman of the Football Association of Thailand told him about Eriksson’s visit and the signings, and hailed it as a chance to showcase Asian and Thai football.
“Our players are qualified. If they can play in the (Man City) first team, football will become more interesting and it will help professional football in Thailand,” Vittaya said.
“It is lucky that the chairman of the club is Thai,” he added.
Thaksin, who was deposed in a coup in September 2006, now lives in England and is wanted in Thailand on charges of corruption. He has refused to return to the kingdom and says the charges are politically motivated.
Since buying Man City for 162.6 million dollars, the Thai billionaire has said he wants to bring players from his homeland to the club.
His team is currently third in the Premier League.
Eriksson to visit Thailand to secure Suree signature
Mon 12 Nov 2007, 7:40 GMT
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson will travel to Bangkok this week to complete the signing of Thai international Suree Sukha, the
country’s soccer federation said on Monday.
Suree, who was initially denied a work permit by Britain’s Home Office, should agree terms with the club on Friday, said Ong-Arj Kosinkar, the federation’s general secretary.
“Sven will be here on the 16th,” Ong-Arj told Reuters. “He is interested in three Thai players but he will sign Suree for sure.”
If the deal goes through, the 25-year-old attacking fullback, who earns just $300 a week in the domestic league, will become the first Thai to sign for a top-flight European club.
Along with fellow Thais Kiatprawut Saiwaeo and Teerasil Dangda, Suree was invited for trials at City by ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who bought the club in July for 81 million pounds while living in exile in London.
On Friday, the Manchester Evening News said City would this week sign one of the three players, who would immediately be sent out on loan.
Thaksin’s critics have dismissed the City takeover and the club’s interest in Thai players as publicity stunts aimed at helping the billionaire tycoon return to politics after his ouster in a coup last year.
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