EC justifies Songkran trips to monitor early voting

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn.

The Election Commission (EC) in Thailand has come under scrutiny after all six of its members travelled abroad during the Songkran holiday on taxpayer-funded inspection visits.

Former election commissioner and current MP candidate for the Seri Ruam Thai Party, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, criticized the move, questioning the purpose and timing of the trips, given that the General Election has not yet begun. Critics argue that such meetings could be held virtually, without the need for expensive travel.

Somchai also queried whether they had visited the countries that seemed to have experienced the most problems during the last election or those with the biggest population of Thai residents. Regardless, he said the timing of the move was improper as the General Election has not yet got underway, reported Bangkok Post.

Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, announced plans to petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over what he terms the EC’s negligence of duty. Srisuwan contends that the EC’s stated reasons for the trips do not justify sending all of its members abroad.

Each member selected one or two of the following locations: Hungary, Slovakia, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. To avoid conflicting with their work schedules, the trips were scheduled between April 4 and April 24. Each commissioner was accompanied by four to five officials.

In response, the Office of the EC issued a statement claiming the trips were necessary to monitor the voting system, with an aim to improve the process or amend regulations in the future. It added that the trips were planned in coordination with the Foreign Ministry and each respective country’s Thai embassy or consulate.

The EC maintains that it continues to perform its duties effectively, even during the trips, by holding online meetings to address urgent issues if needed.

Bangkok NewsNewsPolitics NewsSongkran NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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