Thursday, November 14, 2019

Prayut ‘angry’ at EC gerrymandering allegations

Nov 30. 2018
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By The Nation

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday was irritated by published allegations of Election Commission gerrymandering of certain constituencies, according to a source.

Prayut angrily complained about media questions regarding the matter while chairing a meeting of the National Strategy Committee at Government House.

“The media kept asking me about the division of constituencies. Damn it! Are they going to drop dead because of this nonsense? This should be in line with the rules – whether it is right or wrong, I have nothing to do with it. The prime minister knows nothing about the designation of constituencies,” he was quoted as saying by the source.

Prayut, who heads the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), also reacted to allegations by politicians that the mapping of many constituencies was in favour of a particular pro-junta political party.

He said those politicians appeared to be adherent to their old constituencies and were unaware of changes in population over the past four to five years. 

“It all depends on the voters. If they vote for no-one, you don’t get elected whatever party you are in or however the constituencies are divided,” the PM was quoted as saying.

He dismissed suspicion that the EC’s constituency mapping was influenced by people in power.

“I am not on any side and I did not make any order,” Prayut said.

Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, who is a key figures in the NCPO, maintained on Friday that the junta had nothing to do with the constituency mapping.

When asked if he was worried that dissatisfaction by political parties could lead to a boycott of the election, General Prawit said he did not think there would be a boycott. “There are only a few complaining parties,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Friday that any political party unhappy with the way the EC had designated constituencies could consider petition the Administrative Court but that it depends on the court whether to accept such lawsuits.

Meanwhile, politicians from the Pheu Thai and Democrat parties on Friday continued to hit at the EC and the NCPO over what they described as unfair mapping of constituencies in favour of a particular pro-junta party.

Democrat Party politician Watchara Phetthong said he hoped the election commissioners would not end up being sent to jail like their predecessors many years ago, who were found guilty of failing to ensure fairness in an election.

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