EC might seek court advice if PM rejects poll deferral request


BANGKOK, 13 January 2014  The Election Commission (EC) has admitted that if the Prime Minister turns down its previous suggestion to postpone the February 2 election, the Constitutional Court might be asked to determine which steps to be taken regarding the postponement.

The EC recently lodged a request to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for a new royal decree to be drafted on the rescheduling of the general election from February 2 to May 4. The commission cited various reasons for the adjournment, including the inability to open registrations for electoral candidates in most of the southern provinces due to protesters’ obstruction and a potential waste of the election budget should the election need to be reorganized afterwards due to incompletion.

With no response from the premier as of yet, the EC has coordinated with all of its offices in 375 constituencies nationwide to continue their duties until further notice. EC Secretary-General Phuchong Nutrawong pointed out that if Ms Yingluck refused to do as requested, the commission might have to turn to the Constitutional Court for suggestions.

As for preparations for the advance voting on January 26, no problems have been reported in any of the provinces in the North, Northeast and Central Plains, according to Mr Phuchong. However, EC officials in all 15 southern provinces and Bangkok are reportedly having difficulties finding venues for the polls after facing rejections by venue owners who fear damages from imminent protests. The military might be contacted for assistance in providing its bases for the purpose.

The EC Secretary-General also insisted that violent incidents would be avoided at all costs during the ballot. If there are disturbances, the event would be called off immediately and the officials would find ways to deal with the problem afterwards.