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Election results set for Tuesday

May 02. 2019
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By THE NATION

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PARTY-LIST MPS TO BE ANNOUNCED THE FOLLOWING DAY; CHARTER COURT TO HEAR CASE AGAINST MP ELECTION LAW

THE ELECTION Commission (EC) will announce the final election results next Tuesday, a day after the Royal Coronation ceremony, amid the current political turbulence heightened by lawsuits and the uncertainty over allocation of MP seats.

The agency deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisavakul yesterday said the long-awaited poll results would be officially announced on two separate days. The Constitution demands that the EC endorse the constituency MPs first before proceeding to determine the number of party-list MPs each party would have, he explained.

Hence, the agency would next Tuesday endorse the winners of at least 95 per cent of the 350 constituencies. The 150 successful party-list MPs, meanwhile, will be announced on the following day, he said.

The schedule will meet the deadline imposed by the Constitution, which stipulates the election must be completed within 150 days of the electoral laws taking effect.

However, the debate over the calculation of party-list seats continues. While political observers and stakeholders are protesting against the calculation method proposed to be used by the EC, the agency has stood its ground, insisting the formula has been endorsed by the original law drafters.

Claims of a contradiction between the Constitution and the MP Election law has resulted in the current controversy.

The dispute over calculation was taken to the Constitutional Court by the Ombudsman, and the court yesterday agreed to hear the case and rule whether the MP Election law violated the Constitution. 

The verdict, the court said, would be delivered next Wednesday – the same day the EC would announce its allocation of party-list seats.

The EC deputy secretary-general said the agency would not wait until the Constitutional Court gave a judgement. The endorsement had to be made on Wednesday, following the constitutional timeframe, he explained.

Meanwhile, post-election scrutiny continues, though the election results are set to be announced in less than a week. 

The law has left room for the authority to clear these up, with the stipulation allowing the official announcement of 95 per cent of results. Re-runs of elections and recounts in embattled constituencies will take place after the announcement.

Chiang Mai, for instance, will have a constituency election re-run on May 26. The EC decided on a re-run and that date after the winning candidate in the March 24 poll, Suraphol Kiatchaiyakorn from Pheu Thai Party, was disqualified for giving a cash gift to a temple – an act the EC said was prohibited under the law.

Suraphol will be banned from running in elections for one year. Other candidates running in the March 24 election are re-contesting in the constituency and no registration for new candidates will be opened, according to the poll agency.

Meanwhile, in a Nakhon Pathom constituency where a recount last week had become confusing, a re-run was a possibility.

Future Forward candidate Savika Limpasuwanna yesterday lodged a complaint with the poll authority in Nakhon Pathom to consider a re-election in the constituency, citing inconsistency in the counting.

Savika had come second in the first count, 147 votes behind a Democrat candidate. In recount, she did not win but the difference was down to 62 votes.

She said irregularities had occurred during the counting and recounting and the inconsistent numbers also make the outcome unacceptable. 

Savika demanded that the agency arrange a new election to ensure fairness and transparency, while the Nakhon Pathom case has ignited doubt about the country-wide poll.

In a related development, the EC also disqualified 11 candidates from several political parties, citing they were either members of two parties or members of the party they represented for less than 90 days.

Four candidates were from Palang Rak Thai, two from Palang Chatthai and one each from Palang Puangchon Thai, Prachatham Thai, Seri Ruam Thai, Chatpatta and Ruamjai Thai, according to the EC.

None of them was successful in the March 24 general election and so no re-elections were deemed necessary, but the votes gained by them would be invalidated and would not be included in the party-list seat calculation.

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