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Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Thursday, 03 January 2019

APAC ASSISTANCE DIRECTOR PAUL QUAGLIA DISCUSSES EAST ASIA PACIFIC SECURITY ISSUES.

THAILAND

YESTERDAY THE HIGH PROFILE POLITICIAN SUTHEP THAUGSUBAN, CAMPAIGNED IN THE RED STRONGHOLD OF THE NORTHEAST TO SEEK VOTER SUPPORT. HE IS COFOUNDER O FTHE ACTION COALITION FOR THAILAND PARTY. THOUGH HE IS NOT RUNNING FOR A POSITION IS SUPPORTING THE PARTY WITH HIS SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE.

WHY IS THIS SIGNIFICANT?

FIRSTLY SOME BACKGROUND ON SUTHEP

  • SUTHEP SURAT THANI PROVINCE. UNTIL 2011, HE WAS SECRETARY-GENERAL OF – THE DEMOCRAT PARTYAND A DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER UNDER ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA.
  • INTERESTINGLY HE BECAME VICE PRESIDENT OF THE
  • SUTHEP’ WON THE ASIA SOCIETY’S PERSON OF THE YEAR IN 2013,
  • HIS CLAIM TO FAME WAS FOR RIDDING THAILAND OF CORRUPTION IS FAIRLY RADICAL: TOPPLING THE EXISTENT ELECTED RULING PARTY AND INSTALLING A COUNCIL OF WISE LEADERS TO PURIFY THAILAND. (112,000 VOTES)
  • NOTE THIS WAS A YEAR BEFORE THE 2014 COUP, OR WHAT I DESCRIBE MORE CORRECTLY WITHOUT ANY FUNCTIONING CIVIL OR POLITICAL ENTITIES, AS A NECESSARY MILITARY INTERVENTION
  • WHEN SUTHEP WON HE ACHIEVED 10 TIMES MORE VOTES THAN THE 2012 WINNER, IMRAN KHAN IN PAKISTAN
  • THE RUNNER UP BEHIND SUTHEP WAS ITMALALA YOUSAFZAI, THE FEMALE EDUCATION RIGHTS ACTIVIST FROM PAKISTAN, WITH 12,000 VOTES
  • SUTHEP RESIGNED FROM PARLIAMENT IN NOVEMBER 2013
  • HE BECAME SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REFORM COMMITTEE, WHICH WAS CONDUCTING MASS PROTESTS TRYING TO UNSEAT THE GOVERNMENT OF PRIME MINISTER YINGLUCK SHINAWATRA.
  • AFTER THE MILITARY COUP OF MAY 22, 2014, SUTHEP WAS TEMPORARILY DETAINED AND PLACED UNDER ARREST BY THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT
  • ENTERED A MONKHOOD
  • IN 2016 SUTHEP BACKED THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT’S CONSTITUTION WHICH HAD BEEN PUT TO A NATIONAL REFERENDUM ON 7 AUGUST 2016.
  • IN A COUNTRY WHERE PLURALISM AND CHANGES OF MIND ARE NON EXISTENT SUTHEP IS A RARE FREE THINKER AND HAS SHOWN PLURALISTIC TRAITS

WHY IS THIS CAMPAIGN IN THE NORTH EAST SIGNIFICANT THEN?

  • A MAN FROM SURATHTHANI THAT SUPPORTED THE MILITARY GETTING A WARM GREETING IN THAILAND MAY WELL INDICATE THAT THAIS ARE ACCEPTING OF THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS AND THEREFORE THE NEW CONSTITUION
  • PERHAPS 30 YEARS OF ABUSES OF POWER BY POLITICIANS HAS CREATED A YEARNING FOR STABILITY

 

ALSO IN THALAND 

  • TROPICAL CYCLONE PABUK ALL SOUTHERN PROVINCES
  • THREE TO FIVE METRE WAVES
  • HEAVY WIND AND RAIN AND FLOODS
  • POWER OUTAGES CAN BE EXPECTED AND SHOULD BE PLANNED FOR

 

PHILIPPINES AND INDONESIA ALSO EXPERIENCED FATAL MUDSLIDES. THE DISASTERS OCCURRED IN THE CENTRAL PHILIPPINES FOLLOWING THE USMAN CYCLONE AND IN SUKABHUMI WESTERN JAVA. THERE HAVE SCORES OF FATALITIES AND OTHERS REMAIN MISSING IN THE INCIDENTS.

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