The Election Commission is to endorse the election of more MPs today. The work of the EC has been slowed down by numerous objections lodged after the July 3 election. By this point after the 2007 general election, the EC had completed its inspection of party-list candidates. This year, the number of protests, complaints and objections means that as of this morning, 142 seats have yet to be filled out of the 500 MP seats. There is strong evidence, including statements from the EC, that many of the complaints are frivolous.
Kudos, then, to the sometimes controversial Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum for speaking out against trivial complaints lodged against the winning candidates. There seems little doubt that a small number of hardline political followers hopes to sideline candidates from other parties by launching official complaints of cheating during the campaign or at the polls. The EC should deal with such tactics with its own harsh response.
Where complaints prove baseless, the EC should take legal action against those who filed the complaints. Empty claims of political cheating are not just extra work for the EC. They waste the entire country’s time, as the public is left waiting for the formation of a new government.
The first example of a silly and wasteful charge of cheating came immediately after the election. A single voter filed a charge with the Nakhon Ratchasima EC over a campaign stunt by Pheu Thai Party’s top party-list candidate Yingluck Shinawatra. The provincial EC quickly dismissed the allegation that a demonstration of noodle cooking was a violation of election campaign-giveaway laws. If the EC had followed up its dismissal of the allegation with action against the gadfly who wasted its time, it could have served as an example.
The constitution and election laws properly demand ethical and legal behaviour from all candidates and parties. Bribing voters, tampering with ballot boxes and preventing citizens from having a free, secret vote are serious offences under the law. Any allegation that a candidate won office by using illegal or unethical methods should be investigated and properly decided. The so-called yellow and red cards given by the EC serve two aims: To try to prevent cheating in the first place, and to punish any violations that crop up.
Full Article: Bangkok Post : False charges delay EC work.