Thailand courts call for election commission to resign before new vote

[JURIST] A spokesman for Thailand's three highest courts Saturday called for the current members of the country's much-maligned Election Commission [official website] to resign ahead of new elections ordered earlier this week by the country's Constitutional Court [JURIST report] after the results of the April 2 general election [BBC report] were annulled [JURIST report]. Press reports quoted Virat Chinvinijkul as saying "Chaos and confusion will return if we allow these people to organise the next election, because the public does not trust them." So far, however, the members of the Commission have refused to step aside, and want to meet with political party representatives Monday to pick a new election date. The parties are themselves divided on the Commission; the opposition has said it will not deal with the current membership, which it regards as a proxy for the government, while government leaders insist that the Commission has been doing its job well and its members should continue in office.

The Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday that the "organization of the election by the Election Commission was unconstitutional" because the poll was held too soon after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [official website] dismissed parliament, preventing candidates from having sufficient time to prepare for elections. Thaksin called elections three years earlier than expected in an effort to win support for his troubled leadership. Instead, opposition parties boycotted the poll and not all seats were filled, forcing Thaksin to announce he would be stepping down [BBC report].

 

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