PDRC cheers after election nullified

national March 22, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Protesters with the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) cheered on hearing the Constitutional Court's ruling yesterday to nullify the February 2 election, believing the verdict could lead to national reform before another vote.

PDRC leader Satit Wongnongtaey announced on the rally stage in Lumpini Park after hearing the verdict that it was a good chance for the independent national reforms it is seeking.
“The election must be at least five or six months away. Therefore, this is the only chance for national reform before the election and to eradicate obstacles like Yingluck Shinawatra and her Cabinet, as well as the Thaksin regime,” he said.
The court yesterday ruled the February election was unconstitutional because voting could not take place in 28 of 375 constituencies on the same day.
Caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said parliamentary elections would not be possible in Thailand for a long time because the PDRC would obstruct the poll and cause the election to be nullified again.
“The previous roles of the Constitutional Court and the PDRC mean Thailand will be free from an election for a long time. In the meantime they will take action to [do away with] the government, government coalition and politicians on the government side so that they can create a vacuum and lead to political change and finally an ‘outsider’ government and political reform, as well as change in the political system to ensure that the Pheu Thai Party will not form the government again,” he said.
Abhisit urges talks
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva urged the caretaker Yingluck government and the PDRC to hold talks to try to reach common agreement for a peaceful and acceptable election. 
“I don’t know why Yingluck and Suthep [Thaugsuban] cannot hold talks together. It’s time for both to stop demanding any conditions,” he said.
He suggested that Yingluck and Suthep should decide together what should be done before a new poll is held, otherwise there would be no guarantee that the next poll will be conducted successfully.
He added that the Election Commission (EC) and the government should host talks with all parties.
Asked what the Democrats’ stance was on a new election after their boycott of the February 2 poll, he said he wanted to see a fair and smooth election. 
However, if the regulations were set by the government alone, problems from the previous poll would re-emerge. 
He refused to say whether his party would run in the next poll, saying it depended on how fair and peaceful the election would be.
Meanwhile, the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) said it was ready to assist the EC in strengthening security for the next election. 
However, CAPO will also pursue legal cases against people who obstructed the February 2 election despite the fact it was nullified, as they had already broken the law.
Tarit Pengdith, CAPO secretary and chief of the Department of Special Investigation, said the EC did not ask CAPO to beef up security during the February 2 election, and CAPO felt it could not just act alone in providing additional security as it was the EC’s direct duty to organise the poll.  
He hoped the EC would ask CAPO to help maintain law and order in the next ballot. 
The centre is willing to consult with the EC on the matter, he said.

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