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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Election prelims show no change – Pheu Thai stays; Shots both ways at Lak Si; Yingluck legal battle begins

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Pheu Thai stands to win about 300 seats: source
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Pheu Thai Party is expected to win at least 300 MP seats even though each candidate has won fewer votes than in the past, a party source, who asked to be named, said.

The source added that Sompong Amornvivat, director of the party’s election centre, had said in a meeting that judging from an evaluation of the vote results, Pheu Thai should get about 240 constituency MP seats and about 60 party-list ones. However, the vote results released so far show that more voters opted for “no vote”, making many of the party’s winning candidates get just over 20,000 votes per constituency versus the more than 40,000 votes they have done previously.

Most provinces see voter turnout fall from 2011 election
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Sunday’s election saw an exceptionally low voter turnout in many provinces, with the number of eligible voters who cast their ballots declining from the previous poll of 2011.

In just 34 provinces – fewer than half of all 77 provinces and most of them in the North and Northeast – the turnout was 50 per cent and over.

Nationwide the turnout was 45.8 per cent, compared to 75 per cent in 2011. Bangkok had a turnout of only 26.1 per cent, compared to 71.6 per cent in the previous poll, according to figures released by Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong yesterday.

Other provinces with unusually low turnout included Prachuap Khiri Khan (14.3 per cent), Samut Songkhram (24.4), Kanchanaburi (25), Rayong (26.1), and Chon Buri (28.2).

Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South had a turnout of only 0.1 per cent, as voting could be held only in a small fraction of polling stations.

Many provinces had a turnout of between 30 and 40 per cent.

Most saw a decline in voters when compared with the 2011 election, even in the northern province of Lamphun, which had the highest turnout of 72.8 per cent on Sunday, slightly lower than two years ago.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra wants new voting to be held in constituencies and provinces where the election was disrupted on Sunday, a source said yesterday. The goal was to meet the minimum number of seats in the House of Representatives required to elect a new prime minister and function legally as soon as possible, the source said.

Voting could not take place in nine southern provinces of Krabi, Chumphon, Trang, Phang Nga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Ranong, Songkhla and Surat Thani, and three constituencies in Bangkok.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party remained confident yesterday that Sunday’s election would not be declared void.

Kanin Boonsuwan, a legal expert of the party, criticised the opposition Democrat Party for petitioning the Ombudsman’s Office for a ruling by the Constitutional Court on whether the election was void as voting could not be completed in one day, as required by law.

He said the Democrats were not the “damaged party” in this case. And he blamed the protests and the EC’s alleged lack of efficiency for the problems involving the election.

The Democrats today will petition the Constitutional Court against the government for holding the election unconstitutionally, according to party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. He said the PM went ahead with the poll despite legal problems and repeated warnings by the EC.

In a related development, the other election commissioners yesterday turned down Somchai Srisuthiyakorn’s offer to step down from his position in charge of holding elections. Somchai said he would comply with the EC’s resolution and continue performing his duty.

He had offered to resign as a way of showing responsibility for problems involving Sunday’s election.

Govt’s legal woes intensify
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The opposition Democrat Party will today bring to the Constitutional Court the first legal case against the government regarding Sunday’s election.

This will be the latest in a host of problems facing the government of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The PM is being investigated by the Election Commission (EC) for alleged abuse of authority in recent poll campaigning, and by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged dereliction of duty involving the rice-pledging scheme.

EC member Boonsong Noiso-pon said yesterday the agency was looking into accusations that the prime minister abused her power by having many senior public officials join her recent provincial trips in the run-up to the election.

He said the EC was also investigating a complaint against the PM and Cabinet members accusing them of issuing the amnesty bill unlawfully. The case would be referred to Parliament to decide whether it should be filed with the charter court for impeachment.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the party would today lodge a petition with the Constitu-tional Court against the government for holding the poll unconstitutionally. The government violated Article 68, he said. This article prohibits people from exercising a right with the aim of overthrowing the democratic system, or of acquiring power to rule the country by any means not in accordance with the Constitution.

Abhisit said there were many legal problems with the election and Yingluck had decided to go ahead with it, though she was warned by the EC of the problems.

The Democrat Party would also ask the anti-graft body to file criminal charges against Yingluck and Cabinet members, Abhisit said.

Democrat Party legal expert Wiratana Kalayasiri said they would ask the Constitutional Court to order the dissolution of Pheu Thai Party, disqualify its executives and ban 18 Cabinet members who are Pheu Thai MP candidates.

Sunday’s election saw a very low voter turnout in many provinces, with the number of eligible voters who cast their ballots declining from the previous poll of 2011.

In just 34 provinces – less than half of all 77 provinces and most of them in the North and Northeast – the turnout was 50 per cent or over. Nationwide the turnout was 45.8 per cent, compared to 75 per cent in 2011. Bangkok had a turnout of only 26 per cent, compared to 71.6 per cent in the previous poll, according to EC figures.

Other provinces with unusually low turnout included Prachuap Khiri Khan (14 per cent), Samut Songkhram (24), Kanchanaburi (25), Rayong (26), and Chon Buri (28). Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South had a turnout of only 0.1 per cent, as voting could be held only in a fraction of polling stations.

Yingluck wants new voting to be held in constituencies and provinces where the election was disrupted on Sunday, a source said. The goal was to meet the minimum number of seats in the House required to elect a new premier and function as soon as possible.

Separately, the other election commissioners yesterday turned down Somchai Srisuthiyakorn’s offer to step down from his position in charge of holding elections. Somchai said he would comply with the EC’s resolution and continue performing his duty.

Pheu Thai might have misunderstood EC rules: Somchai
— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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