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Candidates petition court after failing to register

PHEU THAI party-list MP candidate Pichit Chuenban filed a petition at the Supreme Administrative Court yesterday(Mon) to issue a temporary injunction to "protect" 29 Pheu Thai candidates in eight southern provinces who were unable to register as candidates in the February 2 poll.

Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit blamed election commissioners in the South for failing to change the venues for candidate registration in response to blockades by anti-government protesters. This "failure" resulted in some candidates being unable to lodge applications to run in the election.

He noted that local Election Commission (EC) officials did not change to other registration venues that were safer, and that Pheu Thai was obliged to seek court intervention for its candidates' applications to be endorsed.

There were also representatives from the Chart Pattana and Plod Nei parties, who petitioned the court and blamed the EC for not enabling candidates to register in the stated districts by not having officials at the registration site. They claimed this amounted to negligence of duty on the part of the EC. The court accepted the petition and was considering the case as of press time yesterday.

The Election Commission in Bangkok suggested yesterday that candidates who were unable to register in the South due to obstruction by anti-government protesters should petition the Supreme Court.

The EC also held a training course for accountants working for political parties in hope of reducing legal cases related to accountancy claims by half.

EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said affected candidates should proceed to the Supreme Court and petition the court, adding that he believed the court would give them justice. No candidates were able to register in 28 districts in eight provinces in the South.

Puchong reiterated that the EC was impartial and did not favour any political party while carrying out its duty under the law.

The commission explained its regulations to 158 accountants from 38 political parties at Muang Thong Thani in a bid to reduce legal cases related to political parties' accounting matters. There have been 800 legal cases involving accountancy problems over previous years and these have cost the EC much time and money. So the agency wants to try to cut the number of cases by 50 per cent in the next election.

In the long term, the EC is also considering opening a school on accountancy for political parties, Puchong said. The EC secretary-general acknowledged that the rules and details of accountancy for political parties were complex and hard to understand, so there was a need to train accountants for this specific purpose, he said.

Meanwhile, the assistant coordinator of the Green political group Chaturat Boonbenjarat also petitioned the EC yesterday, saying some candidates for the ruling Pheu Thai Party should not be eligible to run because while they were free from five-year political bans, they were not able to vote in that five-year period. This meant they were not eligible to run, he argued.

Chaturat warned the EC that if they do not ensure a free and fair election, the EC would have to be jointly responsible for any disruption or protests as a result.


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