Concern as Election Commissioners head to Denmark and Iceland

Political parties have questioned why four of five Election Commissioners have opted to make an inspection trip to Denmark and Icelande from today to Tuesday just two weeks prior to the general election.

Democrat secretary general Suthep Thausuban called on the EC to devote its full attention to the vote instead of being distracted by non essential duties.
“I don’t want to speculate why the four chose to travel abroad at a crucial juncture of campaigning,” he said in reference to a rumour about derailing the general election.

Suthep reminded the EC that it had to answer to the public if the balloting fell short of being free and fair.

Chart Thai Pattana spokesman Watchara Kannikar said the commissioners should have prioritised their duties, arguing that the supervision of vote in Thailand should come before the advance vote of expats living overseas.

“There is no justification to travel abroad, overlooking the main responsibility of vote supervision,” he said.

Watchara said despite the lapse of judgement for the trip, his party did not suspect the EC of having an ulterior motive.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the four commissioners had erred in deciding to take the trip.

With four out of the country, one remaining commissioner Somchai Juengprasert would not be able to handle fraud complaints should any arise, he said.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he believed the EC might already have drawn up contingency plans to cope with any problems when the commissioners were out of the country.

The four commissioners travelled to Denmark and Iceland to check on the preparations for the June 26 advance vote being held for Thai expats.

The absence of Apichart Sukhagganond, Prapun Naigowitn, Wisuth Pothitaen and Sodsri Satayathum has triggered concern about dealing with campaign violations since an EC ruling requires the endorsement of four of the five commissioners.

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