EC to make a decision on Sunday poll today

national February 07, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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It will consider taking to court issue of 28 constituencies without candidates

The Election Commission (EC) will meet today to make a decision on what should be done with the many problems involving last Sunday’s election, which was marred by protests and disruptions.

Election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said he and his four fellow commissioners would convene a special meeting at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani this morning to discuss the issue and seek ways of solving these problems. 

He said the EC’s legal advisers would also take part in the discussion. “There are several legal issues at hand, but I believe we will be able to find solutions,” Somchai said, adding that he did not think any decision made at the meeting would affect the senatorial election scheduled for March 30.

Somchai said the EC had to be careful in making a decision in response to the ongoing problems in order to avoid possible legal action by people who are affected.

The problems the EC has to deal with are 28 constituencies with no candidates; more than 12,000 polling stations not being open to voters; about 10 million voters not being able to cast their ballots; the need for a new round of advance voting; and 16 constituencies having only one candidate each. 
The EC will also decide today if it should seek a Constitutional Court ruling in relation to the 28 constituencies that have no candidates, Somchai said. 
Officials without an office
Since anti-government protesters have besieged the Government Complex in Nonthaburi, which houses the EC office, the commissioners are having to work elsewhere. 
Meanwhile, Somchai said the EC would invite some government figures and former election commissioner Sodsri Sattayathum to a meeting to discuss how the February 2 national election can be made successful. 
The government figures to be invited are caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, caretaker PM’s Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn and Pheu Thai Party’s strategy committee member Bhokin Bhalakula – all of whom are considered legal experts.
He said the EC might also offer explanations to foreign diplomats and representatives from international organisations about the problems regarding Sunday’s election. 
Bhokin yesterday blamed the EC for failing to prevent many of the problems from taking place, claiming these problems had been intentionally created to disrupt the poll. 
Separately, opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday insisted that the election was unconstitutional, and said the election should be rescheduled in a way that is acceptable to all parties involved “so the country can progress”. 
He said it appeared that the government had failed to use Sunday’s election to claim legitimacy. 
The election saw low voter turnouts in many areas and millions of “no votes”, in which voters cast their ballot but did not choose a political party or candidate. 

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