January 23, 2014 00:00
By CHANON WONGSATAYANONT
THE STATE of emergency would appear to be bad news for the upcoming election on February 2 - if an example is to be seen in past states of emergency imposed by other countries.
There are not many examples of an emergency decree covering the period of a scheduled election. One instance occurred during the 2007 Bangladeshi political crisis, when chief adviser Iajuddin Ahmed of the caretaker government announced a state of emergency. He later announced his resignation as chief adviser and postponed the scheduled election to a later date.
In the United States, seven states have a mechanism for postponement of scheduled elections in the event of a state of emergency.
International media outlets are uncertain whether the same would apply in Thailand. Many, including the BBC, Reuters and The Economist, reported that the Election Commission (EC) wanted to delay the election and to seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court on whether such a delay was possible.
However, Al Jazeera TV reports that despite the announcement of the emergency decree, the elections would proceed as planned.
Australia’s ABC News quoted Charupong Ruangsuwan, caretaker interior minister, as saying the vote should go ahead and the EC should not use the state of emergency as an excuse to seek the postponement of the poll.
There is a possibility the election might be postponed following the emergency decree as in previous cases. But in the current situation, the result remains unclear.