Somchai: End political conflict first

All sides must help resolve the long-standing political conflict so that society will not again show opposition to an election in such a large numbers as occurred on Feb 2, election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said on Monday.

Mr Somchai, who is in charge of election management, said if the problems were not solved the electoral process would never be completed, regardless of how many fresh rounds of voting were held.

Because of the protests, voting was prevented at 10,283 polling units in a total of 67 constituencies in 18 provinces.

On comments from government-bloc politicianss that the EC was duty-bound to organise voting at the polling units where there were problems in seven days, Mr Somchai said the seven-day period should apply to natural problems, such as flooding, but not in the case of political problems to which there is no end in sight.

A new round of voting should be held only after the political problems had been resolved, including the problem with advance voting, which could not be held at many polling units on Jan 26.

"As long as the political problems have not been solved, a new round of voting would eventually run into obstacles,  just as it has before," Mr Somchai said.

He suggested that a new round of voting be delayed until the problems had been resolved.  The delay might be one month, or longer.

Although the law requires a fresh round of voting no later than 180 days from Feb 2, the delay might be longer than 180 days because nobody knew what would happen.

It was not that the EC had not tried to overcome the problems, but because the situation was beyond the EC's control, Mr Somchai said.

On the issue of the 28 constituencies in the South where there were no candidates registered, Mr Somchai said there are two big questions.  One, whether a new round of registration of candidates could be held, and whether this would require another royal decree.

Question No 2 is whether the new round of candidacy registration in the 28 constituencies should be delayed until the political situation has calmed down.

On the problem of the 16 constituencies with only one candidate, Mr Somchai said there is a legal way out of it by holding the second and third rounds of the election without having to wait for the situation to improve.

In an uncontested constituency, the sole candidate must get the support of at least 20% of the total number of eligible registered voters. After the third poll, the sole candidate is declared elected, even without 20% support.

Mr Somchai said the five members of the EC would today meeting to discuss a new round of advance voting in lieu of Jan 26.

Unless results are in from all constituencies, including the party-list vote, the EC cannot declare an election result.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 03/02/2014 at 08:49 PM
reform yes but only within the constitution and not dictated by anti-democrats. Do you really want dictatorship ?
Discussion 2 : 03/02/2014 at 07:26 PM
Anyone with more than one brain cell new that now was not the right time for an election. So what does that tell you about the government. A large percentage of the Thai people have told the government that they have had enough and want proper reforms but as usual the PTP is not interested in reforms or listening to anyone's views but then Dictatorships never are.
Discussion 3 : 03/02/2014 at 07:01 PM
According to the last figures , 80 percent of the Thai people do not want this regime. They did not go or they did vote NO. Sure, we have to wait for the final numbers, but the turnout says it all - compared to the last election in 2011.
Discussion 4 : 03/02/2014 at 04:40 PM
It is suthep that should be arrested. I can't believe the 2 comments here. Suthep and DP are just trying to destroy the election and democratic process.. Read the legal scholars comments and see that the majority will win their fight .. The world will not tolerate another judicial coup again to disband the elected goverment just so DP can gain power because they can't win in real democracy .. The population of thailand will not tolerate another JUDICIAL COUP which is wrong
Discussion 5 : 03/02/2014 at 03:25 PM
its a worthwhile fight to eradicate corrupt politician,you have to balance the negatives with a better future,the clan have been a thorn to thai society and agreed suthep the savior needs to step up to the mark,also the courts must speed up the corruption charges against this regime ,and lawfully diband this shameful pt party,and be banned for life never to take office ever again,the damage they have done is a national disgrace
Discussion 6 : 03/02/2014 at 02:54 PM
anyone see the pattern here .. election first now end the conflict first... bottom line PT are fooling the people yet again...Suthep wake up & turn up the heat or these parasites will never go.......there will never be another chance as Thailand will be turned into a full dictatorship plain and simple

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