Network representatives speaking to the media at the EC office (Photo by Chanakarn Laosarakham)

EC must announce election results, says election watch network

Members of an election watch network comprising civil society groups gathered at the Election Commission (EC) Office in Bangkok yesterday (14 June) to demand that the certified election results be declared as soon as possible so that a new government can be formed.

Activist Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon (left) and iLaw manager Yingcheep Atchanont (second from left) at the EC office. (Photo by Chanakarn Laosarakham)

The legal watchdog NGO iLaw, one of the organizations in the network, said that the Constitution requires the EC to announce the certified election results as soon as possible if it finds no fraud in at least 95% of the constituencies, but must announce the results within 60 days since the election.

The Constitution also requires parliament open within 15 days after the results are announced, and therefore the longer the EC takes to announce the results, the longer it will be before parliament can open to vote for a House Speaker and a Prime Minister.

As it has been a month since the 14 May general election, representatives of the network went to the EC Office at the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road to file a letter demanding that the EC urgently announce the certified election results.

iLaw manager Yingcheep Atchanont said that even though the law gives the EC 60 days to announce the result, it could take less time, noting that in 2001, the EC took 16 days to announce the results, 29 days in 2005, and 24 days in 2011, therefore it is unusually slow for the EC to take over a month to announce the results.

He also said that when the network first demanded that the EC announce the results on 20 May, the EC told them that a recount is needed in several constituencies. Now that the votes have been recounted in the 47 polling stations announced by the EC on 11 June, Yingcheep said there is no excuse for any further delay.

Meanwhile, activist Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon said that the people are waiting for constitutional amendments, but since the EC is not announcing the results, the people will have to wait longer before the constitutional amendment process can begin, which is not good for anyone. She also said that there is a large number of people who will speak out if there is an attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government.

Krit Saengsurin from the election observer group We Watch said that there have been several management issues during the election, such as polling officials writing the wrong details on the envelopes for early voting ballots; not allowing those who register to vote early but are unable to do so to vote on the actual election day, leaving at least 200,000 people unable to vote; documentation mistakes which prevent verification whether there is the same number of ballots as voters in each constituency; and polling officials obstructing the work of election watch volunteers.

Krit said that these mistakes are not simply the result of human error, but are systematic and should be discussed by both the EC and the civil society so that they can be resolved.

This is the third time in the past week that the EC has received demands for them to announce the certified results. Last Thursday (8 June), the activist groups 24 June Democracy and the Labour Network for People’s Rights went to the EC Office to file a letter demanding that it announce the certified election results by 20 June, instead of waiting until the 13 July deadline.

On Wednesday morning (14 June), a group of activists and academics in Chiang Mai also went to the Chiang Mai Election Commission Office to demand a quick announcement of the results.

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