EC asks to meet govt reps Feb 17

The Election Commission will invite government representatives to a meeting on Feb 17 to hear their opinions on how to complete the election as required by the constitution, commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said on Monday.

He said those to be invited to the meeting include caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana, caretaker PM's Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn, caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, Pheu Thai strategy committee member Pokin Polakul and former EC member Sodsri Sattayatham.

These people were expected to answer on behalf of the government questions about the many problems which beset the Feb 2 election, leaving it incomplete and many seats with no candidates.

The EC wants to hear from them how to get at least 475 MPs, or 95% of the 500 House members, elected within the required 30 days so that the House can convene and how to get the full number of 500 MPs within the required 180 days, Mr Somchai said.

He stressed that the EC wants their practical advice, not legal points of view.

The EC also wants to hear their opinions on how to appoint MPs under the party-list system, because it has not received votes from all polling units.

"Another question is what should we do in the event polling units are obstructed by people who do not want them to open," Mr Somchai said.

Mr Somchai, who is in charge of election management, said he also wants to hear from Mrs Sodsri, a former EC member, who had earlier said the EC was required to announce the voting results of the Feb 2 election within 30 days or risk breaking the law.

"The problem is we do not have the results of advance voting from some polling stations which were blocked by protesters.  If the EC holds a new round of advance voting and the polling units are blocked again, what should we do about this problem?" he said.

Mr Somchai said the opinions from the Feb 17 meeting would be taken for consideration by all five EC members.

He said the EC would not invite those who are opposed to the election to a meeting because their opinions had been fully heard and were clear.

As for the 28 southern constituencies where there were no candidates, the EC would send a letter to ask the government to issue a royal decree announcing a new election day.  The letter had been drafted and would be tabled at a meeting of the Election Commission on Tuesday, Feb 11, before being fowarded to the government for consideration.

If the government turned down the proposal, the EC might have to ask the Constituiton Court to give a practical guideline for all sides to follow without fear of breaking the law..

"I believed this would be acceptable to both the proponents and opponents of the election," Mr Somchai said.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 10/02/2014 at 08:26 PM
Stupidity and incompetence are descriptions I can level with; "heinous crimes": is ridiculous hyperbole. The EC is not meant to be a political player; its job is simply to get on with the business of running the election as efficiently and speedily as possible. The "reform" issue is a complete red herring; of course Thai politics need continual reform and will copntinue to do so in the future; in the meantime they have an electoral system that was accepted by all parties last time and was pronounced free and fair by the appointed independent observers. So what is the issue?
Discussion 2 : 10/02/2014 at 02:32 PM
The situation where the EC is now facing had never ever happened before in the entire history of Thailand ....there were coups but they weren't the same I think Ec should be judged fairly as we all know they have been facing a lot of problems with the people who hates this government and it means the ruling party as well for their heinous matter how EC tries the election is sure to fail...because the way to solve the problem is first set a real reform under an interim government. Then and then only we can make elections to select honest and qua;edified MPs. Sto blaming EC with all the lame excuses and covering all the cronie
Discussion 3 : 10/02/2014 at 01:47 PM
EC never show any will to organize the election, only how to stop it. Just stop playing around and do the job. Earning wage with doing nothing is also a kind of corruption since the money is from ppl's tax. Moreover, ppl know which side you are in, Ec..
Discussion 4 : 10/02/2014 at 01:19 PM
If Somchai is concerned "to get at least 475 MPs, or 95% of the 500 House members, elected within the required 30 days", why is he waiting until 17th Feb. to call the meeting? I am sure the government is ready to give him the "practical advice" he asks for today! It is difficult to escape the view that he is stalling deliberately and so playing an improper political role rather than the administrative one he is duty bound to carry out.
Discussion 5 : 10/02/2014 at 12:32 PM
Sounds good, but why is the EC dragging their feet?
Discussion 6 : 10/02/2014 at 12:26 PM
The EC dithers on. After all this time has passed, a meeting in another week. Dare to do your jobs and lead on the matter you're commissioned to do. This sounds like EC looking for more excuses with the government's complicity to do as little as possible.
Discussion 7 : 10/02/2014 at 12:18 PM
EC do your job, you're fooling nobody.

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