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EC member backs local elections before national ballot


Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said on Thursday he agreed with the idea of local elections being held before the national polling, but added that smaller elections would have to be staggered so that effective legal enforcement and thorough regulation could be ensured.

The commissioner was responding to an idea that has been discussed in the media
However, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said it was not yet time to hold elections.
The government currently imposes a ban on local elections, so elected officials in office before the coup are often still working past their original terms. 
The situation could give them a political advantage in the next elections as they could distribute favours at the expense of the integrity of their current offices, Somchai said.
Somchai added that electoral fraud was most rampant in local elections, with Bt1,000 to Bt5,000 spent to buy each vote.
The EC is now working on a local election law in line with the new constitution, which is intended to close past loopholes, he said, adding that the EC was ready if the government wanted to hold elections.
 

Published : March 30, 2017

By : The Nation