Senate poll regulations based on organic election law: EC Office


Six senatorial election candidates question if options of voting among themselves and relying on others for promotion lie within purview of Constitution

The controversial regulations of the upcoming senatorial election are based on the organic law on election of MPs and senators, the Election Commission (EC) Office said.   

Sawaeng Boonmee, secretary-general of the EC Office, provided an explanation in a long message posted on senior EC officials’ Line group on Wednesday. His message comes one day after the Constitutional Court voted to review whether four articles of the organic law on elections violated Article 107 of the Constitution. Article 107 specifies how senators can be allocated their position.

The secretary-general told the officials to not worry as the regulations were rooted in the organic law and the office had no choice but to adhere to the law’s provisions.

On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court judges considered two petitions sent by the Central Administrative Court for an interpretation on whether Articles 36, 40, 41 and 42 of the organic law contradicted Article 107.

The first petition was initiated by senatorial candidate Wituan Ngamplung, and the second by five other candidates – Ritthcia Srimuang, Chalermchai Phupat, Sitthichai Phupat, Chamnong Boonlertfa, and Sakol Puetnukul.
The court voted 8:1 to accept the petitions for judicial review and gave the EC Office five days to submit its explanation.

However, the court refused to suspend the ongoing senatorial election on grounds that it was up to the EC to decide whether the election should or should not be held.

The six candidates’ bone of contention can be summed up in two points.
Firstly, the petitioners argue that Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the organic law contradicted Article 107, because they allowed candidates to vote among themselves. They pointed out that Article 107 wanted people from different professions to elect one another to prevent interference by politicians in a Senate election, but the fact that candidates could vote for themselves would not prevent such political interference.

Secondly, the petitioners were opposed to Article 36, which allowed senatorial candidates to be helped by others to introduce themselves to other candidates. This clause, they said, would allow rich candidates to campaign via the Internet or other electronic media, while poorer candidates would not enjoy such privileges.

In the Line message, Sawaeng said he had called a meeting within the EC Office to find a solution, which will be presented to the EC for approval on Friday.

“We have not done anything wrong. It concerns legal technicalities and how the law is viewed. We’ve prepared an explanation for this,” he said. “I believe the situation will eventually ease.”

The Constitutional Court’s decision came shortly before the Senate election is held at district level on Sunday. The provincial level election is scheduled for June 16 and the national level on June 26.