Election unaffected by protesters’ shutdown of ballot printing shop


BANGKOK, Jan 20 – The blockade of government-run Kurusapa printing shop, responsible for printing election ballots, will not jeopardise the approaching election, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana has reassured.

The nationwide election is set for Feb 2 while the advance balloting is scheduled for Jan 26.

Mr Pongthep said ballots have been distributed to polling constituencies throughout the country.

He was confident that the January 26 advance election and the Feb 2 general election will be held smoothly and the government would be willing to support or facilitate the polls by assigning police and military personnel to guard polling booths.

He said it would be impossible to follow a recommendation by the Election Commission (EC) to hold a referendum on whether the election should be postponed.

A referendum takes at least 90 days but the election must be held within 60 days (after the House dissolution), said Mr Pongthep.

He said the government has not received the EC’s invitation to the prime minister to hold talks on its proposed delay of the election.

Prompong Nopparit, Pheu Thai Party spokesman, said the protesters’ closure of Kurusapa printing shop was an attempt to disrupt the election – a legal offence for obstructing democracy.

He called on the EC’s stricter measures to guard the government printing shop.

He also charged the EC with failing to take action against protesters, adding that he would ask the Council of State to investigate the behaviour of an EC member, Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, who joined the anti-government protest.