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Politicians see NLA proposal as a poll delay tactic

Aug 09. 2018
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AFTER SOME members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) moved to amend the organic law governing the Election Commission (EC), some politicians said they are afraid another ploy may surface to delay the planned elections.

Former Democrat MP Attawich Suwanpakdee called on the NLA to withdraw the proposal, as it could delay the election even further. The national election is expected to be held between February and May next year.

The amendment the NLA is proposing aims to reverse the EC’s choice of provincial election inspectors. With new EC members awaiting royal endorsement, the NLA believes the choice of the provincial election inspectors should be left up to the new commissioners. This proposal came despite the tight election schedule.

Attawich, however, said the provincial election inspectors should be chosen by the incumbent EC. This way, he said, personnel will be in place to start selecting senators once the relevant organic law goes into effect next month.

The Constitution requires that senators be selected at least 15 days before the general election, the politician pointed out.

“However, the election cannot be held in February if the NLA insists on going ahead with the amendment,” he said. He was referring to the lengthy legislation procedure.

Worachai Hema from the Pheu Thai Party also wondered if the NLA was deliberately trying to delay the election.

He pointed out that the selection of election inspectors had been done as per regulations that were drafted and passed through by the NLA.

“This process has been going on for months, and suddenly, the NLA decides to scrap everything. I cannot look at it in any way other than it being a deliberate attempt to delay the elections,” Worachai said.

He added that elections had previously been delayed due to complications in certain legislation, hence he said, this could very well be a similar ploy.

Nikorn Chamnong, a veteran politician from Chart Thai Pattana Party, also said he was surprised that the NLA had decided to propose the amendment now.

The mechanism to scrutinise the election as well as the appointment of the inspectors had been designed after extensive discussions, so, he said, the NLA could face questions about its decision to seek an amendment to the very same regulation.


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