Shortlist for EC candidates submitted on Aug 10
The Supreme Court has said it will forward a shortlist of 10 candidates for the Election Commission (EC) to the outgoing Senate on August 10.
The Senate will have to select five candidates to form the new EC after the three remaining members of the former panel were convict¬ed on Tuesday of malfeasance in conducting the April 2 general election and resigned.
Virat Chinvinijkul, secretary of the Supreme Court, said the process of shortlisting candidates began in earnest on Thursday. The speed with which the court was going about the process reflects the urgency of holding a new election on October 15, he said.
Virat said it was imperative that the new election commissioners be honest and neutral and expressed confidence that the shortlisted candidates, once announced, would be acceptable to most peo¬ple.
"We won't let the public down," he assured, but refused to discuss the names of possible candidates.
The short list of 10 candidates will be finalised at an assembly of 86 Supreme Court judges on August 10 - a first in Thai history since the usual procedure is for the court to choose only five candidates and a selection panel the other five.
However, not everyone is convinced that the selection process will be finished in time to organise a wellmanaged election on October 15.
Outgoing Bangkok Senator Sophon Suphapong said December 10 might be a more realistic date given that the outgoing Senate would require some time to care¬fully scrutinise each candidate's background. There might also be protests lodged to question the integrity of some candidates and these would take time to sort out.
The Senate might need 60 days or more to do its job properly, he said.
Sophon urged the public to keep a close watch on the outgoing Senate as he fears the caretaker government might influence the majority of senators to vote for candidates that could act as proxies of the ruling Thai Rak Thai Party.
"We cannot even allow a single 'nominee' candidate to get through," Sophon said.
It is believed that as many as half of the senators might be under the influence of the Thai Rak Thai party. Sophon said 60 out of the 200 outgoing senators had once admitted to receiving some form of salary from the government.
In related incident, the Criminal Court has asked 16 people who were filmed slandering the court over its verdict on the former elec¬tion commissioners to report to the court.
The court has asked the Huay Kwang district police to help iden¬tify the 16 men and women, who were seen in TV news footage. They face a fine of Bt2,000Bt4,000 and a jail sentence of up to seven years.
People who know the where¬abouts of these people have been asked to call (02) 541 2274 or (06) 626 6888.