Election Commission told to finish polls by March 4


BANGKOK, Feb 5 – The government is pressing the Election Commission (EC) to complete the nationwide election to enable the opening of Parliament on March 4, as required by law.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana said the EC must ensure that the House of Representatives gains at least 95 per cent of the total quorum, 475 members, within 30 days after the Feb 2 general election while the remaining 5 per cent must be elected in 180 days.

He said the EC must set a new election date for constituencies where the polls were disrupted or unsuccessful, adding that new elections must also be organised in constituencies with a single candidate, and the candidate received less than 20 per cent of the required eligible voters.

Mr Pongthep said the government was not concerned with the Democrat Party’s move to seek the Constitution Court’s ruling to invalidate the general election.

A Democrat lawyer, Wirat Kanlayasiri, filed a petition with Constitution Court yesterday, asking it to nullify the election, saying the government went ahead with the polls despite the political stalemate and the vote counting was mismanaged.

The EC’s announcement of Feb 23 for advance election will result in at least two million invalidated votes, he said. The advance election was originally set for Jan 26 but it was disrupted in several constituencies.

He said the party would also seek a court verdict to dissolve the Pheu Thai Party and suspend party executives’ political rights for five years, as well as banning 18 Cabinet members from politics for five years for invoking the Emergency Decree.

The Pheu Thai Party earlier announced its move to seek a court dissolution of the Democrat Party after its members refused to go the polls.