EC member brushes aside govt-initiated forum on election


BANGKOK, Jan 14 – An Election Commission (EC) member disagreed with the government’s initiative to hold a large-scale meeting among at least 70 people to discuss resolution of the political stalemate and the Feb 2 general election.

Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, EC member in charge of election administration, said yesterday that a large forum would not be useful and a possible resolution is for the caretaker prime minister to discuss with the EC chairman.

The government has invited representatives of political parties, heads of government agencies and special interest groups, totalling about 70 people, to jointly find resolution to the snap poll impasse.

The EC has repeatedly called on the government to postpone the election following failures to register candidates in 28 constituencies in the South and the possibility of the  House of Representatives having less than 95 per cent of MPs necessary for a quorum.

According to the Constitution, the Lower House can only be declared open with the presence of no less than 95 per cent of total MPs.

Mr Somchai said the caretaker prime minister and the EC chairman should reach a conclusion after which the opposition Democrat Party should to join the discussion.

After that, all political parties could be invited to decide on the new election date, he said, adding that the government may ask the Council of State to find a legal possibility for setting a new election date.

Mr Somchai said two conflicting political groupings – the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) – will possibly accept resolutions reached between the government and the Democrat Party.

“If the EC is invited to join the 70-people forum, I’ll not attend it.  The EC will have to decide on whom to assign to join the discussion but not me,” he said.

Mr Somchai said he believed a decision to delay the election will cool down the political temperature, though it may not stop the massive protest.