EC disagrees with CDC on setting up new election agency

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BANGKOK, 13 Mar 2015, The Election Commission said it disagreed with the Constitution Drafting Committee’s decision to establish a new agency to oversee and manage the election process.

The Constitution Drafting Committee yesterday invited the Election Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman and the Human Rights Council for their inputs, acknowledging their roles in the new charter.

The constitution drafting committee has planned to establish a new commission in place of the EC, and to merge the Office of the Ombudsman and human rights council into the ‘Office of the Ombudsman and Human Rights Protection’.

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, an election commissioner, said he disagreed with the establishment of the new unit, claiming it would likely be a target of political influence. He backed his claim by saying that the origin of the new agency, which calls for a high ranking government official to select its members, is susceptible to corruption.

Instead of having just one person selecting the members, Mr. Somchai suggested that the charter drafting committee consider allowing the election commission to handle the selection process, with the right to dismiss unqualified members.

He stressed that his agency did not wish to hold on to the power, and that it simply wanted to help effecting the fairest possible election immune to the vote buying and political intervention.

Meanwhile, Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara, a human right committee member, said he disagreed with the merging, as the 2 agencies have different operating directions which will probably lead to internal conflicts in the future.