BANGKOK – Thailand’s Junta appointed government the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has voted down all seven candidates for the new Election Commission (EC) nominated by the selection committee.
None of the seven nominated election commissioners received half of the votes of the 248 assemblymen present or a minimum 124 votes required to be approved as members of the Election Commission.
Incumbent election commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn said the NLA must explain to the public why they rejected all the seven candidates selected by the selection committee.
Under the new Election Commission Act, there are seven election commissioners instead of five under the old law. Five are selected by the selection committee, chaired by Supreme Court president Cheep Jullamon, and the remaining two are handpicked by the general assembly of the Supreme Court.
The NLA’s rejection of all the seven candidates means that the selection process will start all over again and must be completed within 90 days, said Mr Somchai who, however, assured that this would not affect the election as the existing EC will have to carry on its duty and responsibility.
But he noted that the new EC would not be place for the local administration elections to be held this year. He expected the new EC to be in place in the next 200 days or about September.
The “yes” and “no” votes received by the seven candidates in today’s voting are as follows:
Mr Takorn Tanthasit, former secretary-general of of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC); 27 yes votes, 156 no votes with 17 abstentions.
Mr Ruangwit Katesuwan, former rector of Chaiyaphum Rajabhat University; 10 yes votes, 175 no votes with 14 abstentions.
Mr Issaree Hunsacharoonroj, former rector of Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin; 30 yes votes, 149 no votes with 21 abstentions.
Mrs Chompan Pongcharoen-Suthirachart, legal advisor of Worawisith Company and legal chief of Suthirachart law firm; 16 yes votes, 168 no votes with 16 abstentions.
Mr Pracha Terat, former deputy permanent secretary of the interior and former governor of Narathiwat, Chon Buri and Surat Thani; 57 yes votes, 125 no votes with 18 abstentions.
Mr Chatchai Chanpraisri, a chief judge of the Supreme Court; 46 yes votes, 128 no votes with 26 abstentions.
Mr Pakorn Mahannop, a Supreme Court judge; 41 yes votes, 130 no votes with 29 abstentions.
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.
A new search for new EC members must start within 90 days.