Can the junta have its “election” without a new Election Commission?
We are not sure what the answer is, but we were staggered by the report in Prachatai that:
On 22 February 2018, the junta’s National Legislative Assembly voted to reject the seven candidates for new Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). A candidate must receive at least 124 votes to secure a seat in the ECC.
The candidate who received the highest votes is Takorn Tantasith, Secretary-General of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, but he got only 57 votes in favour. (The Bangkok Post says he only got 27 votes and that the highest was former deputy permanent secretary for interior Pracha Terat who got a measly 57 votes.)
The Bangkok Post says the failure of this “secret ballot” means the whole search process has to start anew and within 90 days. It does not say how long the process is likely to take.
A source in the NLA said all candidates possessed the qualifications required in the Constitution, but they had no experience in handling elections. None were trusted by the NLA to be EC members, the source added.
So is the junta being sabotaged by the NLA? Or is this another ploy to delay elections? Can an election be held with the old commissioners in place?
Update: According to the Bangkok Post, “Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam gave assurances yesterday that the NLA’s rejection of all the EC candidates would not push back the general election…”. He did say it “might affect local elections.” He reportedly claimed that “new EC members would be appointed within 90 days and possibly even before June when the lifting of the ban on political activities is expected ahead of elections for local administrative organisations…”. Let’s see.