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Supreme Court denies ‘secret ballot’ held to nominate election commissioners

Dec 08. 2017
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By THE NATION

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THE SUPREME Court yesterday insisted it had voted two Election Commission candidates through an “open ballot” process, a source from the Court of Justice said.

The comment followed an allegation that the nomination of the two new election commissioner candidates from the Supreme Court, as required by the new organic law, could be unconstitutional.Somchai Srisuthiyakorn

Outgoing commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn claimed that the nomination could be unconstitutional because the two candidates had not been selected through an open process as required by the organic law.

In choosing the two successful candidates, the Supreme Court reportedly conducted two meetings in which 95 per cent of the 176 judges participated. 

The first-round meeting was conducted on November 17 to select from five candidates. 

Only judges deemed eligible to vote could participate and prior to the nomination process they discussed how to conduct open voting. 

They reached the conclusion that each would cast a ballot anonymously. 

Each judge’s actual act of casting the ballot, however, was open and visible to all present.

The six vice presidents of the Supreme Court at the meeting agreed that the vote had been conducted in an “open” manner. 

The outcome of the first round saw Justice Chatchai Chanprisri win a majority of votes to be selected as one of the two court representatives to the election commission. A second vote was held on Wednesday to select another judge.

Prior to voting in the second round, the court again discussed the voting method and agreed that its previous approach to maintain voters’ anonymity could be considered “open”. 

Justice Pakorn Mahannop won a majority vote and his nomination has been submitted for approval to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), along with Judge Chatchai and five other candidates who had been chosen by a selection committee.Wissanu Krea-ngam

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday that since the question of the legal status of the voting process had been raised, the Supreme Court may have to clarify the issue. If the court refused to do so, some measures must be adopted to reach a conclusion in the selection process, he said.

However, it was the NLA’s job to ensure the nomination process was legitimate before submitting the list for royal endorsement, Wissanu said. 

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