Pongthep: Elections can be held again and again, if disrupted


BANGKOK, Jan 31 – Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana has asserted that elections in troubled or disrupted constituencies can be organised again after Sunday and the law does not restrict the polls to be held on a single day.

Thailand has set Sunday for the snap polls despite widespread protests by the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) which has repeatedly called for a national reform before holding general elections.

Mr Pongthep said it would not be necessary to issue a new royal decree for elections in certain areas after Sunday, adding that the general elections will not be nullified if related agencies strictly abide by the law.

He said the caretaker government will be able to explain its justifications for invoking the Emergency Decree to the Civil Court.

The court has summoned the government to a hearing next Thursday to defend itself against a petition opposing its enforcement of the state of emergency in Bangkok and parts of surrounding provinces since Jan 22.

Mr Pongthep said the prime minister could assign a lawyer to represent her in court.

On her Facebook page yesterday, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra invited the Thai people to go to the polls Sunday, saying Thai society fears that the upcoming general elections will lead to deeper political unrest and violence.

A large number of people believe that an election is the principle for preserving basic individual rights and the democratic system under the monarchy, she said.

She posted her portrait in a “wai” gesture to show her respect.

“This is one of the country’s most meaningful elections for it will be the guiding light to Thailand’s future under democratic rule. An election is a mechanism to end conflicts arising from difference of opinions in the most peaceful way. It reflects the desire of the majority of people and compels (the government) to listen to the minority,” she said.

She said this Sunday will give the opportunity for Thai citizens to equally exercise their voting rights to dictate Thailand’s future and the elections will be the resolution that moves the country forward despite obstacles.