EC pledges to endorses 95% of MPs within 30-day timeframe

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BANGKOK, July 23 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) on Saturday pledged to speed up the official endorsement of MPs status of remaining winning candidates within next week in time for the opening session of parliament.

EC chairman Apichart Sukhagganond made these remarks as 98 winning MPs were yet to be endorsed, of which 8 were party-list candidates and 90 for constituency-based candidates.

Mr Apichart reaffirmed that the poll agency will accelerate the consideration for the endorsement of MP status by 95 per cent within next week so the House session could open.

The EC chief said evaluations will be held from next Monday through Friday, while urging all parties to understand the working procedures of the election agency, which needs to comply with the law.

According to the Thai Constitution, 95 per cent of MPs, 475 out of 500, must be endorsed before the first meeting of the Lower House of Parliament is able to take place within 30 days, or August 1, from the election date.

To this point, a total of 402 MPs from 500 seats have been endorsed by EC — 285 constituency seats and 117 as party-list MPs, or just slightly over 80%.

Following pressure on the EC from many sides, Mr Apichart conceded that the poll agency has been put under pressure but he is already familiar with the situation.

Regarding the possible MP status endorsement for remaining Red Shirt leaders within next week, Mr Apichart said the EC has to consider the case within 30-day timeframe.

He added that in the previous election held in 2007, MPs statuses were endorsed in eight separate batches.

Therefore in this case MP status endorsements were proceeding neither too slowly nor too quickly in this election, according to Mr Apichart.

The EC on Thursday endorsed six Red Shirt leading members, such as former Deputy House Speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai and Red Shirt leaders Weng Tojirakan and Korkaew Pikulthong, Wichian Khaokham and Pichit Cheunban.

But those still not endorsed include Natthawut Saikua, Jatuporn Prompan (who is detained at Bangkok Remand Prison) and Payab Pankate.