New elections will not be held in areas where the situation remains at risk of possible law violations, as such polls would definitely waste both time and money, the Election Commission (EC)'s chairman Supachai Somcharoen said on Tuesday.
He added that the EC would hold new elections if the situation in these areas returns to normal, but any hint of violence in the constituencies would negate the value of any election, especially if the protesters were to again block the polling stations.
Supachai said the EC has tried to find appropriate lawful approaches and felt a royal decree should be issued for new elections in constituencies where not even one candidate has registered to run,
If the caretaker government disagrees with the EC’s proposal to issue a royal decree, the poll agency will forward the case to the Constitutional Court to determine which options could be applied to this case.
Supachai said he expected the EC's letter on the issuing of a royal decree would be sent to the caretaker government today. The agency would wait for an official reply on whether the caretaker government agreed with the proposal.
Asked whether the February 2 election could later be nullified, Supachai noted that EC was not the Constitutional Court and was therefore unable to give an opinion. He however noted that were the EC to organise new elections in the 28 named constituencies, this could be considered unlawful, as the law states that the MP candidacy registrations must be done within 20 days after the House of Representatives is dissolved.
In this case, the deadline has already passed as the royal decree on House dissolution was endorsed on Dec 9 last year.
The EC proposal for the issuing of a royal decree earlier sparked criticism from some individuals, who noted that the government had already issued a royal decree for the February 2 general election and could not thus issue another one for new elections.
Supachai said a new royal decree is required for the 28 constituencies where there were no registered MP candidates, so a new election date must be set. He urged that the law be interpreted in such a way to allow the country to move forward.
He added that the five election commissioners, their legal team and advisers had done their best to find way out of the crisis but there were many legal restrictions. The EC would tackle this problem as soon as possible as the Senate election is approaching.