EC agrees to consider Govt’s advice on re-elections

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 By  NNT

BANGKOK, 17 February 2014  The Election Commission (EC) has expressed willingness to mull over various suggestions from the government concerning the re-elections in 28 constituencies in the South but indicates that the voting will likely take place after March 2. 

Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn today called a meeting with EC officials, academics and representatives of the government, including Deputy Prime Ministers Pongthep Thepkanchana and Warathep Rattanakorn and Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri. The main objective was to brainstorm ideas on how to address problems in the election process.

During the discussion, the government officials advised that the EC open out-of-area registrations as well as online registrations of MP candidates for 28 constituencies in southern provinces, where no one applied for candidacy during the previous round. Police and military bases were proposed as polling venues for the re-elections while the EC was urged to ensure that information about the printing of ballot papers was kept confidential.

The EC was also requested to allow any member of the public to apply to become the supervisor of each polling station. Any electoral staff found to be neglecting their duties would be subject to serious disciplinary action.

In response to the government’s assertion that the voting in the 28 constituencies would need to be held no later than March 2, Mr Somchai said it would not be possible. He reasoned that the difference in opinion between the EC and the government over issues concerning the rearrangement of the polls had prompted the commission to seek judgment from the Constitutional Court which would lead to a delay in the process.

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