Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn has withdrawn from the contest to become the next secretary-general of the Election Commission (EC), he disclosed on Sunday.
Somchai told reporters he had written to the chairman of the selection committee late last week about his decision to withdraw his application.
He said his decision came after he was notified that he lacked a qualification to apply for the job. His past position as a vice-rector at Thammasat University did not qualify as a “primary executive position” – a requirement set by the EC.
Somchai said that he believed that this requirement was higher than that stipulated in the Election Commission Act. However, he decided not to bring his case to the Administrative Court as that would further delay the selection of the new EC secretary-general.
“People in power may not want me to work in the Election Commission’s Office. I am straightforward and often criticise whatever is not right, with no fear or reluctance,” Somchai said.
“I don’t want to put the selection committee and the remaining four election commissioners in a difficult position. So, my withdrawal should be the best way out in this situation.”
In March, Somchai was removed as an EC member at the order of General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who invoked his special powers as head of the ruling junta, the National Council for Peace and Order. The removal order cited Somchai’s “inappropriate comments” deemed to have confused the public about election schedules.
Earlier, Somchai had opted to remain as an election commissioner after announcing his intention to stand as a candidate for the new position of EC secretary-general.