The Nation


February Election

EC sees chance snap election 'might not happen'

THE ELECTION Commission (EC) yesterday announced February 2, 2014 as the date for the snap election - but EC member Sodsri Satayathum warned the election might not happen as it is not yet clear if a winner could emerge.

Some 48 million voters would be eligible to exercise their rights in the poll. The EC has also set dates for MP candidacy registration. Those seeking party-list MP positions must apply for candidacy between December 23 and 27, and constituency MP candidates must apply between December 28 and January 1. Advance voting would be held on January 26.

Sodsri told the 97FM radio station that the Democrats might boycott the election - the way they decided not to field eight candidates in the previously set and now cancelled by-elections.

Asked if the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) had called on the EC not to stage the election, she said the EC would follow the PDRC's order if it had won the current impasse.

"[But] Thais have no experience of a 'People's Revolution'. I think the PDRC [is not in a position] to claim it has won. Now the EC must monitor closely [if there is a] winner that could take all," she said.

Meanwhile, EC Secretary-General Puchong Nutrawong said the EC affirmed in a meeting with the caretaker Cabinet yesterday that it was ready to oversee the general election.

He said he also explained to caretaker Cabinet members about EC-prohibited actions during the vote-wooing campaign - such as the transfer of high-ranking officials, the spending of central budget funds, and budget spending that would commit the Thai administration over several budget years.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the party's meeting todayDecember 11 would set the vote-wooing strategies for five regions for both party-list and constituency candidates. This should be completed next week and the party would be ready once the EC set the application dates.

Prompong said many members of the "House No 111" - former executives of Thai Rak Thai - and those from the "109 executives of dissolved political parties" group would run under the party's banner.

Prompong said the meeting would unanimously vote interim premier Yingluck Shinawatra to be its Number 1 party-list candidate again.

He said the absence of the Democrat Party from the race, should it stage a boycott, would be no problem. There were 59 political parties registered with the EC including four coalition parties, such as the Bhumjaithai Party, to join the race.

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut yesterday said the House dissolution wasn't the answer and urged Yingluck to find solutions and create a "suitable environment" before the February 2 election.

Chavanond urged Yingluck's government and the Pheu Thai Party to promise not to resurrect the amnesty bill and to state that they had no intention of amending the Constitution's Articles 291 and 68, and the section about the qualifications of senators.

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