EC stands firm on poll date meeting

Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn has refused Caretaker Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan’s plea to attend a government-led meeting on the proposed deferment of the 2 Feb general election on Wednesday.

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All five Election Commission (EC) members earlier resolved to turn down the invitation to attend the meeting at the Royal Thai Air Force HQ on Wednesday at 10am, to which 70 people representing various agencies have been invited to discuss whether the polls should be postponed.

Mr Somchai, the commissioner in charge of election management, said EC members had agreed not to attend and would instead assign secretary-general Puchon Nutrawong to represent them at the meeting. EC members were of the opinion that a meeting involving so many people would not lead to any useful conclusion, only more conflict, he said.

The EC has meanwhile scheduled a private meeting with the caretaker government for Thursday Jan 16.

But Mr Charupong asked that Mr Somchai attend the broader Wednesday meeting on the issue. The EC commissioner stood firm, refusing the invitation again. He said he turned down the plea after the interior minister told him later that he would be unable to attend the Wednesday meeting. He will be otherwise engaged with official tasks and will send Deputy Interior Minister Visarn Techatheerawat to represent him instead.

Mr Somchai then asked the minister to attend the talks on the proposed deferment of the polls on Thursday, when all five members of the EC will meet caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. 

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