EC reacts to expulsion of Somchai Srisuthiyakorn

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Bangkok – The chairman of Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) has assured the public that the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) decision to remove Somchai Srisuthiyakorn from the EC due to inappropriate comments on the general election will not impact the commission’s work.

The Royal Gazette has promulgated the NCPO order to remove Somchai Srisuthiyakorn from the EC after he made inappropriate remarks concerning the general election during an interview, causing confusion and obstructing the work of the commission regarding the organization of the poll. The decision was also due to Somchai applying to become the EC’s secretary-general without first resigning from the body, resulting in a conflict of interests and morally compromising the commission. The order was effective from March 20.

The order further stated the chairman of the EC remain in the post until a new commission is formed to ensure the continuity of its work.

Somchai has accepted his ejection as within the discretion of the NCPO but assured his remarks were not in favor of any particular group or individual and that his application for the secretary-general role was due to him having the proper qualifications. He stated, despite being relieved of duty, that he will continue to work for the nation.

While admitting he no longer needs to attend EC functions, including a meeting with existing political parties on March 28, he indicated he may still attend if he decides to join one of the parties.

EC Chairman Supachai Somcharoen meanwhile said the loss of Somchai will not impact the commission’s work as it still has the four members needed to function, adding his responsibilities will be taken up by the Secretary-General of the EC.

The chairman also stated EC members reaching retirement age soon will not be an issue, as the NCPO has allowed them to continue their work until a new panel is selected. Those approaching the age of 70 include Boonsong Noisophon, who will reach 70 in August this year and Supachai himself, who will reach 70 in February of next year.