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Thailand’s Election Commission Ready to Defend Against Accusations of Bungling March Elections

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong said on Sunday that the EC is ready to defend itself against multiple legal challenges over its performance in the recent poll, as well as face an impeachment process.

Mr Ittiporn was referring to a petition for the Office of the Ombudsman to seek a Constitutional Court ruling nullifying the March 24 election, a petition for the National Anti-Corruption Commission to impeach the seven members of the EC and a threat to file a court case against the EC for malfeasance under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.

He said the petitioners had exercised their rights to challenge the EC if they believed the agency had made serious mistakes.

“We are ready to respond to every question. The decisions rest with the relevant agencies,” the EC chairman added.

Mr Ittiporn said the EC respects every opinion. “I previously said we need to show courage in performing our duties. Now, I am speaking about our courage being put to the test. I insist that we have performed our duties with honesty,” he added.

He said the EC had received an investigation report on the late arrival of some 1,500 ballot papers from New Zealand, too late to be included in the count.

On receiving the report, he said, he instructed his office to conduct an additional investigation to find out what caused the mistake and who was responsible for it.

“The EC initially learned that there was a mistake, causing the mail pouch containing the ballot papers to arrive late at Air New Zealand. After the ballots arrived in Thailand, the EC wants to know why they were not delivered in time to be counted at a central vote counting station. The EC will wait for the result of the investigation to find the facts,” Mr Ittiporn said.

Mr Ittiporn declined to say what the EC would do if the mistakes were found to have been committed by other agencies.

By Apichit Jinakul