Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So, what are really their policy differences?

So, what are the policy differences between the two major parties vying for the right to govern the country after July 3?

Reuters has filed this report that is worth repeating here. It says: The two main parties contesting Thailand's July 3 parliamentary election have proposed strikingly similar policies that focus heavily on winning over the rural poor, building up infrastructure and other populist measures.

Below are their election promises:


Its "Moving Thailand Forward" pledges include:

- Raise daily minimum wages by 25 percent in two years from current levels of 159-221 baht ($5-7) and improve labor skills

- Free universal quality medical treatment

- Build high-speed rail links to north, south and eastern seaboard

- Extend subsidies on diesel and cooking gas prices, and provide some free electricity for low-income households

- Raise farm incomes by 25 percent through subsidies for fertilizer, and financial guarantees for farm production

- Two-year interest-free mortgages for first-home buyers

- Free education up to 18 years, soft education loans for 250,000 university students, $12 billion approved for education reform

- Ease financial burden of small borrowers by extending state refinancing of personal debts owed to non-conventional creditors outside the banking system.

- Double production of alternative energy, especially solar, turbine and bio-gas

- Expand national 3G broadband networks to link all districts in Thailand

- Anti-drug campaign

- The Democrats and opposition Puea Thai Party both agree on indefinitely suspending plans for nuclear power in Thailand. Under a power development plan for 2010-2030, Thailand's first nuclear power plant was scheduled to begin operation in 2020. Thailand had planned to build five nuclear power plants with capacity of 1,000 megawatts per plant.


Policy pledges include:

- Guarantee a uniform daily minimum wage of 300 baht ($10) throughout the country

- Universal medical care; patients pay 30 baht per visit

- Credit cards for farmers, rice intervention scheme and a guaranteed 15,000-20,000 baht/tonne for unmilled rice

- Three-year household debt moratorium for up to 500,000 baht focusing on debt of teachers, farmers and civil servants

- Starting monthly salary of 15,000 baht ($500) for new university graduates, free tablet computers for school students

- Corporate tax cut from 30 percent to 23 percent in first year, 20 percent in second year

- Tax cuts for buyers of first homes and first cars

- A flat 20 baht fare for all 10 mass transit rail lines in Bangkok

- High-speed rail lines linking key cities in the north, northeast, east and upper south regions

- Annual rural village development funds of between 300,000 and one million baht

- Monthly welfare allowance of 600 baht for elderly citizens of over 60, rising to 700 baht at 70, 800 baht at 80, and 1,000 baht at 90

- Free Wi-Fi and Internet connections in public places, and "One Tablet PC per Child" project

- Build 30-km anti-flooding levees to protect Bangkok and satellite towns from tide surges from the Gulf of Thailand

- Special administrative status for southern Muslim provinces

- Campaign to wipe out illicit drugs

- Amnesty for political offences since 2006 coup

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Vithoon Amorn; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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