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Once that Indonesia poll is over, I wonder if the dreadful homophobic rhetoric of recent years will cease. When the countrys Defence Minister likens gays to nuclear war thats when I decide never to return.

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I arrive at BKK on 24th in the afternoon. Do the bars serve alcohol after the polling closes? If yes, any idea when bars are back to normal?

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1 hour ago, hank75 said:

...... and possible outcome scenarios. 

 

most likely they will be along the line ' doesn't matter how you turn ,  your ass is always behind you ", at least for  awhile as long as economical situation stays free of recession

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1 hour ago, JackR said:

I'm in BKK now and all bars look to be closed :(! Frustrating

Don’t worry they’re all open again tomorrow. Go for a massage tonight?

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From Bloomberg News (16 Mar..)

Thai Growth Will Ride Out Any Election Unrest

Once the dust settles, attention will return to completing a key economic project that’s already attracted billions of dollars in foreign investment.

Thailand’s long-delayed elections to be held on March 24 have stirred concern among some analysts that we will see a fresh round of protests and social unrest. Investors should look past any temporary disruption. Whatever the result, Thai leaders will move forward with a landmark project that will support growth in what has been one of the most economically stable countries in Southeast Asia for the past two decades.

First, a little background: In May 2014, the Royal Thai Armed Forces initiated a successful coup, leading to the impeachment of then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the dissolution of the senate and government, and the repeal of the Thai constitution. Since then, the military-backed National Council of Peace and Order has ruled the country, with retired General Prayuth Chan-Ocha serving as prime minister.
 
Though the junta regularly detained dissidents and has squashed most free speech, the economy grew at a decent clip between 2014 and 2018. Data from last year indicate that gross domestic product rose by about 4 percent, much of that fueled by tourism and manufacturing. Tourism alone represents almost one-fifth of the economy, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand predicting more than 40 million international tourists will flock to the country this year.

That said, poverty and widespread corruption remain pressing issues. Though Thailand’s overall poverty level has dropped dramatically in the past two decades, to less than 7 percent of the population in 2017 from 21 percent in 2000, Unicef estimates that more than seven million people, mostly in rural areas, live on less than $88 per month.

And while the junta has promised plenty of initiatives to combat political corruption, the simple fact is that graft exists at virtually every level of government. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce estimates that most businesses pay between 25 percent and 40 percent of contract values under the table to politicians and bureaucrats to secure work and get projects moving, according to the Bangkok Post. In other words, bribes are factored into the cost of doing business in Thailand. Don’t expect that to change after the election.

After the political dust settles, the focus will be on building the Eastern Economic Corridor, or EEC. In development for the past 30 years, the sweeping and ambitious project encompasses roughly 5,000 square miles between the provinces of Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao, and is Thailand’s hub for export-oriented industries. The $54 billion project has a 2021 completion deadline. The current government is ramping up foreign and domestic investment in transportation infrastructure; developing business and innovation hubs; promoting tourism; and creating so-called “smart” cities.

The EEC has proven mighty attractive to overseas investors, with more than $9 billion in pledged foreign investment as of the start of last year, according to Thailand’s Board of Investment. Hundreds of projects in everything from agriculture to robotics are finding eager supporters, mostly from Japan, Singapore, the U.S. and China.

Continues with chart and video

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Although much attention has been focused on the north east provinces and rightfully so, this article raises of the potential impact of voters in the south on Sunday's election.

Reuters (22 Mar.)

In Thailand's restive deep south, election stirs rare enthusiasm

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) - Pateemoh Poh-itaeda-oh, 39, has lost four family members to violence in Thailand's deep south, where a Muslim separatist movement has fought against rule from Bangkok for 15 years.

Now, she is running for a parliamentary seat in a general election on Sunday, hoping to have a hand in making government policies for the restive region.

Sunday's vote is broadly seen as a battle between allies of the military junta leader seeking to stay in power and supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunication tycoon whose loyalists have won every general election since 2001.

But that divide has a different dynamic in the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, which are 80 percent Muslim, while the rest of Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist.

A separatist insurgency has dragged on since 2004, killing more than 6,900 people. In January, two Buddhist monks were shot dead in a suspected insurgent attack.

In previous elections, the deep south was not much courted by politicians seeking national power. But the arrival of several new parties on the political scene, along with stalled peace talks, have stirred interest in the campaign in the south - and enthusiasm to participate among newly minted candidates.

Pateemoh, a Muslim who is a candidate for the pro-junta Action Coalition for Thailand party (ACT), said she got involved because she felt for the first time there was a chance for the concerns of the south to be heard and - possibly - bring an end to the conflict.

"For a long time many Thais have looked at problems in the deep south as a marginal border issue, but this election I have seen changes," she told Reuters at her party headquarters in Yala province.

Ending the insurgency is deeply personal to her. Three of her brothers and one sister have been shot dead since 2004 in suspected attacks by insurgents, who often target teachers and local officials for working with central government.

"I really want to be a voice in forming policy and solving the conflict issue in the deep south, and people have to remember that women's voices need to matter in this process," she said.

SELF-DETERMINATION

The three provinces, and a small part of neighbouring Songkhla, were historically part of a Malay Muslim sultanate annexed by Thailand in 1909. Separatist tensions have simmered ever since.

A peace process between the Thai government and insurgent groups has made little headway, with violence still occurring even though the military has been directly in charge of security in the region for 15 years.

In February, Mara Patani, an umbrella organization representing many insurgent groups, said it has suspended all dialogue with Bangkok until after the election.

For decades, the deep south's small tally of seats - 11 out of 350 being contested in this election - were seen as a reliable bloc for the Democrat Party, the country's oldest political party that is officially non-aligned in the campaign but could prove crucial in post-vote coalition-building.

But the fresh attention being paid to the region by new parties has stoked pent-up desire for a say among both the pro-government and pro-autonomy camps there, said Samart Thongfhua, a political analyst at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.

"Generally, people in the deep south are enthusiastic from all sides because they will feel that they can gain justice through democracy," he said.

RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

This is the first election that a Malay Muslim from the deep south, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, 74, is a prime ministerial candidate.

Matha, a former house speaker and the leader of Prachachart Party, is a key ally to Thaksin who could help capture votes for the "democratic front" of anti-junta parties in the deep south. Pro-Thaksin parties have in the past performed badly in the region, where he was widely blamed for exacerbating the conflict with harsh tactics when he was in power from 2001 to 2006.

https://news.yahoo.com/thailands-restive-deep-south-election-stirs-rare-enthusiasm-111714047.html

 

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