Election talks under shadow of |legal threat from Pheu Thai
February 17, 2014 00:00
By THE NATION
AS PHEU THAI leaders sit down to discuss issues surrounding the February 2 election with the Election Commission (EC) and academics today, the party has threatened legal action against the five EC commissioners to force them to complete the election.
Pheu Thai Party MP candidates will today file complaints against the five election commissioners at police stations across the country, accusing them of violating the Constitution by scheduling beyond the deadline the election dates for polling stations that were blocked by protesters, party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday. The move is in response to the EC’s resolution on February 11, which scheduled April 20 as the date to re-hold advance polling at stations where voting had been blocked by protesters on January 26. The resolution also scheduled April 27 as the election date for polling stations the protesters had obstructed on February 2. Prompong questioned the EC’s motive for fixing election dates that would prohibit the House from convening within 30 days after the general election. He said by March 3 the EC must hold voting at polling stations that had been blocked, since Article 127 of the Constitution stipulates that the House must be convened within 30 days after the election date. He said the EC must also schedule candidate registration and election dates for eight southern provinces that have no MP candidates, pointing to the fact that the EC has the authority to do so under Articles 135 and 136. The EC had officially proposed the government issue a royal decree for voting in those provinces. Prompong said the party instructed its party-list and constituency MP candidates in every province to file complaints at police stations against the five commissioners. “With this measure, the EC cannot avoid its responsibility,’’ he said. Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn posted on his personal Facebook page seven questions, which he said were “homework” assignments for the government representatives and academics attending the meeting today with the EC. Some of the questions he asked were: 1: How to manage the election in 28 constituencies in the South to prevent violent obstruction by local people and anti-government protesters? 2: How to print ballot cards and deliver them to the polling stations with transparency and without being obstructed by anti-government protesters? 3: How to recruit nine local election officials for each polling station if local people do not support the election? 4: What are the roles of soldiers, police and administration officials in helping the EC manage the election? Can the EC issue orders to every unit, and if any unit does not take the EC’s orders, will it be dismissed? 5: How to hold elections in 10,284 polling stations at which voting had not taken place? 6: How to solve problems such as no ballot papers or boxes if protesters obstruct the delivery of election equipment? Democrat Party deputy leader Ongard Klampaiboon said he hoped the government and the EC today could find solutions that are acceptable to all sides and free the deadlock facing the country.