BANGKOK, 11 February 2014 The Election Commission (EC) has resolved to reorganize the advance polls on April 20 and the general election on April 27 in areas where the previous voting could not take place due to obstructions by protesters.
EC commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn revealed that the commission had convened with electoral staff from a total of 21 provinces which were forced to close their polling stations by anti-government protesters in some or all of their constituencies on January 26 and February 2. The 21 provinces comprise all 15 southern provinces, Bangkok, Rayong, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon.
The meeting reportedly came to a conclusion that the advance voting would be reopened in the problematic constituencies on April 20 while the official voting would be reorganized on April 27. Despite some provinces’ readiness to hold their re-elections within this month, Mr Somchai was adamant the polls had to be scheduled for late April due to many reasons.
The commissioner elaborated that if the re-elections took place too soon, the continuing anti-election movement of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) could lead to disruptions of the senatorial election on March 30. He added that national holidays during the first half of April also caused the polls to have to be pushed off to the latter half. Nonetheless, he assured that the dates of April 20 and 27 were still within the legal timeframe of 180 days.
As for another 28 constituencies with no candidates, Mr Somchai said the EC was in the process of asking the government to issue a new draft royal decree so as to allow fresh elections to be held in those areas