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JUST TWO DAYS after the Election Commission (EC) began accepting applications, a record-breaking 6,400 candidates from 60 parties have registered in the run-up to the long-awaited national polls.
An expert put the huge turnout to the new election system – Mixed-Member Apportionment (MMA) – saying parties are fielding as many candidates as possible in order to gain votes.
As of yesterday, 6,474 candidates had registered with the EC – more than twice the number of candidates who had registered in the 2011 election, which saw 2,422 MP candidates.
The agency’s secretary-general, Jarungvith Phumma, said 546 individuals had registered yesterday, while more than 5,000 had applied on Monday – the very first day of registration. However, not many parties have handed in the names of their party-list and PM candidates.
Parties have until 4.30pm on Friday to submit their list of candidates in all categories. Jarungvith, however, advised parties to not leave things to the last minute, especially since every application would need to be verified.
So far, he said, only four parties had submitted all three lists – namely the Shinawatra-camp parties Pheu Thai and Thai Raksa Chart, and anti-junta parties Seri Ruam Thai and New Palang Dharma.
Pheu Thai’s list of PM candidates included its de facto leader Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, the formidable former transport minister Chatchart Sitthipan and legal expert Chaikasem Nitisiti.
The party also submitted 97 names for party-list MPs, which showed that Pheu Thai was pinning its hopes on senior figures, such as party leader Viroj Pao-in, secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai, Sudarat and Chaikasem.
However, Chatchart was not included in the MP list, even though he is very popular among urban middle-class voters.
Chatchart affirmed his loyalty to the party yesterday and hinted he might run in the Bangkok gubernatorial elections in the future.
Meanwhile, political scientist Wanwichat Boonprong from Rangsit University yesterday put the record-breaking number of applications to the new electoral system.
“Small and medium-sized parties are now fielding candidates in more areas because this is a chance for them to gain votes that can count towards party-list MPs,” he explained. “We can see parties, such as Bhumjaithai, fielding more candidates in Bangkok, when previously their focus was outside the capital.”
However, he said, for Pheu Thai it is different. It is set to win in many constituencies, which will only reduce its number of party-list MPs. Hence, it has to field fewer candidates and use a proxy party such as Thai Raksa Chart, to compete in the party-list MP contest, he said.
Under the new election method, even when a candidate loses in a constituency, the votes they get are counted and calculated for the party’s share of seats in the House of Representatives.
So, if a party’s candidates in all 350 constituencies get 1,000 votes each, that would total 350,000 votes for the party, which could translate to as many as seven seats for party-list MPs, Wanwichit explained. Hence, most parties were likely to field as many candidates as possible, he said.
Also, since the new law limits the amount of money that can be used for campaigns, all parties – small and large – have an equal chance to introduce themselves to the voters, he added. This is why smaller |parties have become hopeful, he said.
Meanwhile, other closely watched parties such as the Democrat and Phalang Pracharat have yet to hand in their list of hopefuls.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a potential candidate of Phalang Pracharat, said yesterday that he was still considering the party’s policy proposals, adding he had until Friday to make a final decision.
Earlier, it was said that Prayut was still on the fence because he was not very happy about the party’s choice of list MPs. Prayut reportedly wants politicians facing legal charges to be removed from the list. However, the coup leader denied the report yesterday.
“I haven’t seen the list,” he told reporters. “It has nothing to do with me. They invited me to be their PM candidate, but the list is the party’s responsibility. Now, I’m not related to any political party.”
Source : The Nation Multimedia
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday discussed with Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen ways to develop bilateral relations and benefit from the European country’s experience in the field of optimal use of oil resources.
During the meeting, Abdul-Mahdi praised the vital role played by Norway in the fight against terrorism in Iraq and its participation in the Kuwait’s donors conference for the reconstruction of areas liberated from Islamic State militants, Iraqi website Alghad Press quoted his media office as saying in a statement.
The premier further called for expanding support programs and training courses provided by Norway to hone skills of Iraqi security forces and improve the humanitarian situation of the displaced families.
For her part, Eriksen expressed “her country’s desire to reinforce relations with Iraq, increase opportunities of economic cooperation, and exchange visits between officials of the two countries to give a push to partnership between.”
She also conveyed greetings of the Norwegian prime minister to Abdul Mahdi and invited him to visit Norway soon. At the end of the meeting, Eriksen expressed pleasure at the development and stability in Iraq.
Source : Iraqi News
By Ibrahim Alawi
JEDDAH — The residents of south and east Jeddah neighborhoods have expressed deep concerns about their health after seeing camels wandering near their houses.
The shepherds with their camels tend to hide behind residential areas following the order by Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal prohibiting the sale of camel milk on public roads.
A large number of angry residents expressed worries about their health and the grave environmental consequences as the animals are believed to be quickly transmitting diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) to humans. They have called upon the municipality inspectors to run intensive inspection visits in their neighborhoods.
Khalid Al-Shehri, resident of south Jeddah, said they started seeing lot of camels wandering in their neighborhood right after the order that banned selling camel milk on streets.
“The shepherds hide the camels away from municipality inspectors because they do not want to get caught and fined. This is a dangerous practice, which can turn into a grave environmental problem jeopardizing the public health,” Al-Shehri said.
When Okaz/Saudi Gazette asked one of the shepherds why they brought the camels to the neighborhoods, he said on condition of anonymity that they had no other option as the municipality inspectors were cracking down on them.
“We raise camels and sell their milk to make money. The inspectors of the municipality do not let us keep the camels in the barns and they always remove these barns, which they say are against the law. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture should allow us to build barns and provide us with licenses. We don’t want to hide inside residential areas,” he said.
He also said the ministry should help them get vaccinated against certain diseases, which might be transmittable by camels and should provide them with awareness programs about the proper ways of raising camels.
The Jeddah Municipality inspectors removed 495 camel barns in south and east Jeddah and confiscated all their tools as well as 72 camels in order to force the violators to evacuate the place.
Source : Saudi Gazette
Nissan Motor Co plans to freeze remuneration payments to its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn totaling 9 billion yen ($82 million) which the automaker alleges are illegal, a source close to the matter said Tuesday.
Tokyo prosecutors have already indicted Ghosn of understating his remuneration by that amount in Nissan’s securities reports over the eight years through last March. Nissan as a company has also been indicted on the charge.
The Japanese automaker plans to book 9 billion yen in additional pay to Ghosn in its earnings report to be released next Tuesday without actually disbursing it, the source said, though Ghosn has told investigators the unstated pay has not been finalized and did not need to be shown in the securities reports.
Nissan is also considering filing a damages suit against the former boss for separate financial misdeeds including purchases of luxury homes, the source said.
Nissan dismissed Ghosn as chairman shortly after he was arrested on Nov 19 and as its own internal investigation, triggered by a whistleblower report, found the former boss to be engaged in financial misconduct.
The company said Tuesday it will hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on April 8 to seek approval to dismiss Ghosn and his close aide as directors and appoint alliance partner Renault SA’s chairman as a new board member.
Nissan’s board decided to nominate Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as its new member, while removing Ghosn and Greg Kelly, who was also arrested for alleged conspiracy in the financial misdeeds at Nissan.
Ghosn and Kelly have been stripped of their roles as chairman and representative director, respectively, but remain board members.
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Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — On 4 February 2019, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting on the issues of further expanding bilateral cooperation with Germany, France, India and the United Arab Emirates, in particular, ensuring unconditional implementation of the adopted roadmaps.
Investment is the main driving force of economic development. Therefore, this issue is in the center of constant attention of the Head of the state. 2019 was declared in Uzbekistan as the Year of Active Investments and Social Development. The Ministry for Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan was established to improve the efficiency of activities in this direction.
At the meeting it was noted that certain activity has been implemented on business development and creating jobs through attracting investment in domestic economy, but this is still not enough.
There are not enough investment personnel. Activity with investors needs to be improved, the existing infrastructure should be developed. Therefore, we still have much to do in this sphere, to learn a lot. The country will not develop without foreign investment, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
In recent years, cooperation with leading foreign countries is dynamically developing and enriched with new content, political dialogue and exchange of delegations are intensifying.
It was emphasized that during the visits of the Head of the state to foreign countries, cooperation and partnership reached a new level, in particular, contracts and agreements worth over 14 billion USD were signed between Uzbekistan and Germany, France, India, the United Arab Emirates.
France and Germany, which have leading positions not only in the European Union, but throughout the world, are reliable and promising partners of Uzbekistan, visits to these countries contribute to raising interaction to a qualitatively new, higher level.
The priority task is to attract, first of all, modern technologies, innovations, advanced experience and management methods of these countries. The roadmaps specify the deadlines for implementation of agreements and arrangements on investment projects, the responsible authorities and persons.
The Head of the state noted the need for timely and full implementation of these promising projects aimed at improving the wellbeing of people.
In this regard, the working group of the joint Uzbekistan – Germany Committee on Investments and Technologies is responsible for monitoring and unconditional execution of projects included in the roadmap. The need for introducing this mechanism in relations with other countries was noted.
Following the negotiations between the President of Uzbekistan and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, held last October in New Delhi and in January this year in Gujarat, agreements were reached on implementation of investment projects and trade contracts worth 3.5 billion USD. These agreements relate to information technologies and communications, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, innovations, agriculture, agro clusters, education and other spheres.
The need for ensuring full implementation of projects on creating the first joint pharmaceutical free economic zone and a branch of Sharda University in Andijan, a technology park and a branch of Amity University in Tashkent, construction of modern clinics and others was noted.
In recent years, consistent work has been carried out on bringing bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, which has great authority in the Arab world and enormous potential, to a level that meets the capabilities of the two countries. The exchange of delegations has been intensified, active preparations are underway for the implementation of joint projects.
Attracting investment and financial capabilities of the UAE to Uzbekistan were considered at the meeting.
The need for ensuring implementation of each project included in the roadmaps qualitatively and on time, searching for new partners on problem projects was emphasized.
It was noted that decisive actions and efforts aimed at consistent development of mutually beneficial relations with foreign partners will serve the sustainable development of Uzbekistan and improvement of people’s welfare.
Information of responsible persons on the execution of agreements on attracting foreign investment was heard.
Source : UzDaily