ANFREL sending in observers for 3 Jul election

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BANGKOK, 9 June 2011 – The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) will deploy its staff to observe the upcoming general election in Thailand in the hope that the election will normalize Thai politics and reinforce democracy.

According to ANFREL’s press statement, the mission will be the fourth of its kind to Thailand; the previous one being in the 2007 election. The mission in that year focused on vote buying, electoral violence, intimidation, and disputed impartiality of polling officials.

ANFREL said it hopes that the observation this time will bring about improvements in Thai politics. However, it still expressed concern over the campaign strategies of political candidates, the improper use of money in politics, and possible violence. The group also called for the respect for the freedom of movements, assembly and expression.

The statement said ANFREL wishes that all sides will accept the result of the election while political parties, eligible voters, the Election Commission and the press must also comply with the code of conduct, endorsed by most political parties, in what they do to ensure that the election is truly democratic and credible.

For the upcoming 3 July election, ANFREL is deploying about 60 observers to polling stations nationwide, who will work until a week after the election. 24 of them have been here since 3 June while another batch of more than 30 observers will arrive in Thailand on 22 June.

ANFREL staff will observe the situation before the election date, on the actual election date, vote counting process and submission of election results. They are from 20 nations and have expertise in fieldwork regarding election and human rights.