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Thailand’s Election Problem

27/12/2013

BANGKOK, Dec 27 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) has expressed optimism on possible dialogue between conflicting parties to end political conflict and pave the way for general election on a suitable date.

Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, EC member for election administration, said there was sufficient time to find a resolution and understanding so that Thailand will have a fruitful and constructive election.

The EC yesterday urged the government to postpone the snap poll, scheduled for February, in light of unresolved political violence

The difficulty here, which neither the EC or the media is mentioning,  is that elections must take place within 45 to 60 days of dissolution. “Snap” poll seems an odd term for calling an election under the strict terms of the constitution. The violence is unresolved because it is not being dealt with. However, one can understand the need to play down the less violent demonstrations in order not to fuel too much incitement.  

Mr Somchai said the EC has continuously assessed the political dispute and agreed that the election, though held as scheduled, would not solve problems in society and conflicting factions should hold talks to reach understanding and agreement.

What he does not admit, however, is that postponing the election, even if that were legal, would not make the violence or the dispute go away. The opposition party want Yingluck’s resignation and no further involvement by the Thaksin family. Prime Minister Yingluck has offered to hold a dialogue with the opposition parties. They have refused. 

Varathep Ratanakorn, minister of the PM’s Office/deputy agriculture minister, said the government has yet to coordinate with the EC but it believed that an election delay will contribute to more violence and unrest.

“If we have an election in 60 days, we will have new cabinet members and national legislators sooner,” he said.

He said the government has reiterated its support to a reform forum – a proposal that has been turned down by protesters, especially the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the opposition party.

“Since the EC has offered to mediate, it should urge the PDRC to join (the forum),” said Mr Varathep. 

The PRDC has made it clear they will not have a dialogue with the government side, although that has been offered. Their position on the Thaksin family being in government is, they say, not negotiable. The democrat party , the political  arm of Suthep’s PRDC,  are not only boycotting the 2 February elections but are on record as saying they want rule by a “people’s council” made up of the great and the good. It is not clear whom but in 2012 Boonlert put forward a similar proposal when he led the Patik Siam movement. That fizzled out. These anti-government protests are proving more constant and the EC’s grounds for optimism are unclear and confused.

PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said his group is waiting to see what the government and EC will do about postponing the February 2 general election.

He said the party-list candidacy registration, held at the Thai-Japanese sports stadium in Din Daeng yesterday, was unscrupulous as candidates were allowed to submit their documents before the official hour. 

That sounds a little like two schoolboys squabbling in the playground over who gets first choice of the candy. They are not discussing the real issues.    

He said the PDRC stood firm on its original stand for national reform before an election is held.

“An election delay must be made to pave the way for reform, and not for the caretaker government to stay longer for its pre-election campaign,” said Mr Akanat. (MCOT online news)

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One Comment
  1. Matt Owens Rees permalink

    Reblogged this on Matt.Owens.Rees; Thailand Writer.

    Like

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