BANGKOK, Dec 9 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) will meet today on organising by-elections nationwide following an announcement by Democrat MPs to resign en masse, effective yesterday.
EC members will also discuss possibly extending by-election registrations in Chumphon, Trang and Surat Thani after not a single candidate applied to run in the poll, originally set for December 22.
The by-elections were initially scheduled after nine Democrat MPs including anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban resigned from the House of Representatives on November 8.
EC member Prapan Naigowit said the law requires a by-election in 45 days after a parliamentary seat in the Lower House is vacant.
He said the Election Law subjects the EC to hold by-elections despite the Democrat MPs’ mass resignations yesterday.
Without Democrat MPs, the number of representatives in the Lower House is more than half and the House remains in existence unless an official announcement is made to dissolve the House, he clarified.
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said party MPs voted unanimously to resign en masse to pressure Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House to pave the way for a national reform in accord with the Constitution.
He said the prime minister, the government and the ruling Pheu Thai Party have never shown their responsibilities or accountability for damages in the country.
They challenged the court’s power and continued trying to commit additional offences through parliamentary mechanism, said Mr Abhisit.
The resigned Democrats immediately went on stages at three separate rally sites, organised by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, at the Government Complex, Democracy Monument and Finance Ministry last night, and vowed to join today’s multi-pronged march on Bangkok’s streets to the Government House.