Thailand's Constitutional Court [official website] on Friday declared the country's recent general election to be be invalid, adding further complication to the current political crisis in which protesters have demanded the yielding of governmental power to an interim appointed council. In a 6-3 decision, the court nullified the February election, deeming it unconstitutional due to the fact that all votes were not cast on the same day. Rather, protesters prevented candidates from registering and voting, through methods of physical location and intimidation, in 28 different constituencies. Thailand polls will now be reopened for another general election. This is expected to take at least three months.
Thailand has been fraught with political instability since the 2006 military coup, [JURIST op-ed]. Thailand's Democrat party, the country's main opposition political party, petitioned [JURIST report] the Thai Constitutional Court last month to annul the results of last week's national elections, alleging that the polls were unconstitutional. In January 26, leading up to the elections an anti-government protest leader was shot and killed [JURIST report] during demonstrations blocking a voting station. The shooting came just five days after the Thai government declared [JURIST report] a 60-day state of emergency, granting it broad powers to curtail the political unrest, including the ability to censor media, impose a curfew and detain suspects without charges. These powers are in addition to those granted in November when the prime minister invoked [JURIST report] a special security law known as the Internal Security Act, which conferred broader powers on police forces attempting to contain the protests. Just days later protesters stormed [JURIST report] the army's headquarters in Bangkok, seeking assistance in overthrowing the government.