Anti-election Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn has a remarkable capacity for supporting anti-democratic campaigns while being disingenuous about his motivations.
Most recently, Prachatai reports that the EC’s chief bozo has “told the media at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that the Commission never suppressed a free discussion on the draft charter or the August referendum.”
This comes just days after the very same Somchai, jubilant that the Constitutional Court had upheld the draconian referendum law, chortled that “the EC will from now on strictly enforce the referendum law.”
Apparently neglecting this threat and believing that his audience was composed of a gaggle of klutzs, he exonerated his own EC.
Even for this clown, he provided a quite astonishing set of false statements made with a deliberate intent to deceive. He blamed the public and the media for the lack of debate. His falsifications included a claim that “the public inclination to self-censoring their opinions on the charter draft because of a climate of fear was not the commission’s fault…”.
He added “that if people want to know exactly what they can or cannot do during the referendum, they had better ask the junta.” This is the junta that Somchai has assiduously and slavishly supported. It is the same junta he worked so hard to get in place.
Meanwhile, repression deepens.
As the Bangkok Post reports one important junta attack, “The 19 core red-shirt figures were hit with summonses by security authorities after they appeared together at the conference inside a department store in the Lat Phrao area.” The junta’s plan seems to be to keep red shirts “so tied up in mounting their legal defence against the accusations that they are unlikely to have the time or the stamina to go after any cheats in the run-up to the Aug 7 draft charter referendum.”
The Dictator is warning “politicians” not even to meet in public events. He referred to opposition politicians as “the enemies of the law…”.
Even campaigning for a fair referendum and for the right to campaign on the referendum is considered suspicious. It is reported that “[f]ive activists were briefly detained and later let go by police on Saturday after leading 50 people to release balloons with a message calling for fairness in the Aug 7 referendum on the draft constitution.”
The intimidation in areas the junta considers “opposition strongholds” continues unabated.
Seven of the 13 activists arrested in Samut Prakan on 23 June for “distributing leaflets urging citizens to vote ‘no’ in the Aug 7 referendum” remain incarcerated. Their lawyer, Krisdang Nutcharut, argues that the “military court does not have the authority to remand these students.” He also explained that the seven “did not actually refuse to seek bail but that police and the military had apparently made clear before the court that they should be detained and were preparing objections to any bail.”
Krisdang went on to say that the detained students: “… are sacrificing their freedom to tell the public that they don’t recognise the ill-defined authority of the military court. Legally, they simply refuse to recognise the temporary detention…”.
The junta’s repression will continue and will deepen as the charter referendum gets closer still. The junta’s minions in the EC will play their assigned roles, threatening, intimidating and censoring.