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Thailand election commissioners get jail time for abuse of power in April poll

[JURIST] Thailand's criminal court on Tuesday sentenced three members of the Election Commission of Thailand [official website, in Thai] to four years in jail for violating election law in connection with arrangements for the April parliamentary election [BBC report]. The results of that election have since been annulled [JURIST report] by the nation's highest courts. The three election commissioners - Vasana Puemlarp, Prinya Nakchudtree and Virachai Naewboonnien - were convicted of allowing candidates to switch constituencies in the second round of balloting and other abuses of power in organizing the elections. The second round of voting was required after candidates of the party led by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile], the Thai Rak Thai party [party website, in Thai], failed to garner the minimum 20 percent of votes necessary to win the election. The three commissioners said Tuesday they would appeal the verdict to the Thailand Supreme Court [government backgrounder].

The Thai government also announced Tuesday that new election commissioners will be appointed within a month [Bloomberg report], before the October 15 parliamentary election [JURIST report]. The three convicted commissioners, however, refuse to resign even though the heads of Thailand's three highest courts recommended that the three commissioners resign [JURIST report] in May. Bloomberg has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.

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