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February 2 Election

Going ahead with poll could be waste of money : OAG

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has suggested that the Election Commission (EC) review the decision to hold a snap election on February 2, as it could end up being a waste of state funds, an adviser to the office, Pisit Leelavachiropas, said yesterday.

The request was made in an urgent letter sent to EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen on Wednesday. The OAG expressed its concerns over the use of Bt3.8 billion in state funds to hold the election. There was a high possibility that the money would go to waste, it said.

"To ensure the most efficient use of the funds and to prevent damages, we suggest the EC reconsider holding the election," the letter read.

Pisit said the OAG feared that if the poll goes ahead as scheduled, the political situation might prevent the new administration from being able to convene the House of Representatives. Alternatively, another House dissolution could end up being called within one year after the election, meaning that the state funds would be squandered.

However, Pisit said the EC was not obliged to follow the OAG's advice, as it was not legally binding.

"The OAG sent the letter to the EC because we fear the use of states funds [for the election] might be a waste of money. It doesn't mean we agree with the People's Democratic Reform Committee," Pisit said, referring to the main Bangkok-based protest group trying to derail the election because it doubts the politicians it favours could win it unless "reforms" are imposed first. A source said acting OAG director Prapee Ankinandana sent the letter to the EC.


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