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The outgoing Senate voted 101 to 10 on Monday (8 July) to form an ad-hoc committee to investigate the Senate election, claiming several irregularities during the election, including vote manipulation.

Somchai Swangkarn

The motion was proposed by outgoing Senator Somchai Swangkarn, who said that a committee should be formed to investigate several irregularities during the Senate election, including the fact that several candidates applied to run in groups that do not match their professions. He claimed this was the reason why those with experience in their profession who ran in the correct groups were not elected. He also alleged that there was vote manipulation, claiming that pieces of paper were found telling candidates who to vote for, and that some candidates were in a party.

The committee would also conduct a study on legal complaints, Somchai said. He proposed that the committee be made of experts from various standing committees and outside experts who drafted the 1997 and 2017 Constitutions.

Somchai said that the outgoing senators will continue working until the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) certifies the results of the Senate election. He insisted that he is not trying to buy time for the outgoing senators to continue in their positions but is trying to do his “constitutional duties.”

The outgoing senators voted 101 to 10, with 14 abstentions, to form a 21-person committee, which will have 30 days to conduct a study and present a report, which will include recommendations for new senators and any future constitutional drafting committees.

Senator-elect Nantana Nantavaropas told Matichon Online that it is not illegal for the outgoing senators to form such a committee, but it might not be appropriate since a new set of senators has been elected and the study would have a long-term effect on the Senate.

Nantana said that the public might not be happy with the outgoing senators’ move, since they have not been respectful of public opinion and are now trying to do something unrelated to their role when their term has ended. She suggested that the outgoing senators file a complaint with the ECT if they are unhappy with the results of the election.

Since the ECT announced the certified results this afternoon (10 July), it is unclear whether the new committee can continue conducting the study. Somchai told Matichon Online that it is likely the committee will be disbanded since new senators have been endorsed. The outgoing senators may also not be able to re-convene for another session.

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