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Last day for EC to clear poll doubts

BANGKOK: The Election Commission has been given until today (Apr 24) to defend its handling of the March 24 general election after a petition calling for the nullification of the poll was submitted, the Office of the Ombudsman said.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 24 April 2019, 08:54AM

Voters at their polling unit in Banbangkapi School in Bangkok’s Bang Kapi district on March 24. Photo: Bangkok Post

Voters at their polling unit in Banbangkapi School in Bangkok’s Bang Kapi district on March 24. Photo: Bangkok Post

Raksakecha Chaechai, the Ombudsman Office’s secretary-general, said yesterday that the office had accepted the petition last Wednesday. It was submitted by Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a former member of the now-dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party.

Mr Raksakecha said the office had given the poll agency seven days to clear doubts raised by the petitioner. The deadline to explain the matter is today. Citing inconsistencies in the vote count, the controversial calculation of party-list seats and uncounted ballots from New Zealand, Mr Ruangkrai said the EC’s handling of the poll may not be constitutional.

He asked the Office of the Ombudsman to forward the case to the Constitutional Court for consideration. Mr Raksakecha said that if and when the EC sends its explanation to the Ombudsman’s office today, the Ombudsman will call a meeting straight away to consider whether to forward the matter to the court before the EC announces the official poll results on May 9.

Meanwhile, Treerat Sirichantharophas, a Pheu Thai Party candidate running in Bangkok’s Constituency 13, on Tuesday lodged a complaint with the EC asking it to explain why some 180 ballots were missing from the 13th polling station in the constituency.

Citing an EC document which recorded the number of votes counted at the polling station, Mr Treerat said a total of 860 ballot papers were allocated to the station, and the number of voters who showed up to cast the ballots was 594. In light of this, there must have been 266 ballot papers left. But there were actually 86 ballot papers left, with 180 missing, Mr Treerat said.

It was possible that someone took the ballots out of the polling station. The EC should order a rerun in the constituency if more alleged irregularities are found,”' he said.

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According to unofficial results released by the EC, Thitipat Chotedechachainan, a Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) candidate, is the winner in Bangkok’s Constituency 13, bagging 27,489 votes. Mr Treerat came second with 23,912, followed by Nicha Boonlue of the Future Forward Party (23,707).

Mr Treerat previously said having re-runs at a few polling booths would not fix the problem because there were alleged irregularities at more than 22 polling stations in Constituency 13, in Bang Kapi district alone.

Somboon Nunual, a PPRP candidate running in Chumphon’s Constituency 2, asked the EC to disqualify Sarawuth Onlamai, a Democrat Party winning candidate in the constituency, arguing that Mr Sarawuth’s father, Sirisak Onlamai, a radio show host, campaigned for him on his radio programme. This was in violation of the law on the election MPs which bans poll candidates from asking media operators to help with their election campaigns.


Read original story here.



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