The European Union’s Ambassador to Thailand, Pirkka Tapiola, on Friday asked for comments from Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong regarding the National Legislative Assembly’s (NLA) rejection of seven final candidates for the new Election Commission on Thursday.
Prajin, who is also justice minister, said Tapiola raised the issue, asking what would happen next.
“I informed him that the government does not yet know the details and that he will be briefed as soon as I have more information,” Prajin said.
There will be another meeting between Prachin and Tapiola at the Justice Ministry soon.
The NLA yesterday voted overwhelmingly in a closed-door meeting to turn down all of the proposed candidates. A new round of selection kicked off immediately and will have to be completed within 90 days, according to the law. Under the law, candidates who get a majority of NLA votes would become new EC members. But all seven candidates received less than the required minimum of 125 of 248 votes.
An NLA source said the rejection followed some legislators’ concern that the controversial initial selection process might have damaged public confidence in the new EC and more problems might ensue. The seven candidates would have filled vacancies in the Election Commission, the key agency responsible for holding elections. The move was viewed by some as another attempt by the junta to prolong its hold over power and delay the promised election.
NLA President Pornpetch Wichitchonlachai said on Thursday that the current EC members, acting as caretakers after being dismissed by the new EC organic law, were still working in strong spirits.