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EC to meet govt on draft of Royal Decree for snap election

Security will be beefed up for the Election Commission (EC) members who meet today with government representatives to discuss the drafting of a Royal Decree on holding an election.

EC secretary general Puchong Nutrawong said the EC had requested a police escort for five EC members, besides routine checks at their residences. However, he did not request bullet-proof vehicles or ask police for security officials to be permanently stationed at the EC members' houses to keep them under guard at all time. He did not think the present situation warranted such high security.

He said acting PM Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkan-jana and caretaker PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn would attend the meeting with the EC at its office.

He said the EC had arranged a reserve office following anti-government protest rallies to pressure them against holding a poll. Puchong said the EC had met with its legal specialists for two hours on Monday.

Those at the meeting had presented differing views over whether the EC had the authority to inform the acting PM to draft a Royal Decree to schedule a new poll date if there was a riot or a crisis.

He said the meeting also shared views on whether the acting PM had the power to request a royal endorsement or countersign royal commands. Puchong stopped short of revealing further details of the discussion.

Responding to the People's Democratic Reform Committee's call to have high court chiefs meet with independent agencies to nominate a non-partisan PM, Puchong said the EC needed to decide whether it would meet with any agency for discussions.

Meanwhile, Niwattumrong said today's meeting might be held at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy.

The election should be based on the same resolution that it should be on July 20. However, there could be small adjustment if necessary, he said.

Niwattumrong insisted he and his government had full authority to submit the Royal Decree on the election.


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