70 to be invited to join in election talks

The government will invite about 70 people representing all stakeholders to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the Election Commission's request the government consider postponing the general election now set for Feb 2, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana said on Tuesday.

He said the meeting would take opinions from all sides present, and hear the EC's reasons for making the proposal.

"Having received the EC's proposal, we want to hear its reasons.  There must first be an exchange of opinions of all concerned," Mr Pongthep said.

Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, an EC member in charge of electoral management, said he had not received an invitation letter from the government.

He said the talks proposed for Jan 15 might not lead to any conclusion, since it would involve too many people with different opinions.

Mr Sonchai suggested that initially the talks should be between the EC chairman and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

"We want the government and the EC to meet first to discuss our proposal.  The prime minister should first tell us what she thinks about our proposal and whether she has any suggestions.

"I don't think 70 people would be able to reach a conclusion even after two hours of talks.  Suppose that each of them speaks for about three minutes, the time would run out without any settlement being reached.

"I think the main parties (government and EC) should first hold talks to reach an agreement on some relevant matters before anything else," Mr Somchai said.

Mr Somchai said he would not represent the EC in the talks tomorrow, as called for by the government.  The EC would decide at a meeting who will represent it, he added.

If, in the end, the government still wants the election to be held as originally scheduled on Feb 2, the Election Commission would do that to the best of its ability, Mr Somchai said.

However, the government must be responsible for any consequences which might follow, Mr Somchai said.

The commissioner said he personally wanted to propose that the election be completely rescheduled and the early registrations of candidates be nullified.  In his opinion, the election could be held in early May after new rules and regulations have been in place and acceptable to all concerned.

Share your thoughts

Back to top

More From Bangkokpost.com