General election re-runs set for April

The Election Commission is to hold second chance advance voting in 83 constituencies on April 20, followed by general election re-runs at 10,284 polling stations on April 27.

Advance voting was blocked in 83 constituencies on Jan 26 - 47 in southern provinces, 33 in Bangkok, and one each in Phetchabun, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram - because of anti-government protests led by the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). 

On Feb 2, a further 10,284 general election polling stations in 18 provinces were also unable to open for voting due to protest disruption and election staff shortages. Affected were 15 southern provinces, Bangkok, Rayong and Petchaburi. 

Election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn announced the resolution on second chance voting after the five-member panel met with election presidents and directors from the 18 provinces on Tuesday to discuss the current political situation and solutions to polling problems. 

He explained that the new dates were set for April because the meeting had concluded that voting disruption was likely to escalate during the Senate elections, the first day of candidacy registration for which is scheduled on March 4. Voting for senators is set to begin on March 30.

Regarding the 28 southern constituencies which are still without candidates for the general election, Mr Somchai said the EC wants the caretaker government to issue a royal decree to fix a new election date for the 28 constituencies. The EC will write a formal request to be submitted to officials tomorrow, he added. 

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