The February 2 election is set to trigger a lengthy legal battle between the two rival political camps, which are ignoring the negative consequences of the country being dragged into a power vacuum. It is quite certain that the February 2 election will be held, with the likely consequence being that voting cannot be carried out in many constituencies and provinces. No one knows when the voting in these provinces will be able to take place, or how many rounds of advance voting and absentee voting will be carried out, given that anti-government protesters are determined to block the elections. The possibility of completing the whole process of the February 2 poll is thus inevitably thrown into doubt. This may not be surprising; some political parties have rejected it from the very start. Legal specialists such as former Senate speaker Meechai Ruchuphan and People’s Democratic Reform Committee leader Suthep Thaugsuban believe that the solution is to nullify the election – with the April 2, 2006 election serving as an example.
Meechai said the most likely reason for the February 2 election being invalidated would be that voting cannot be held on the same day in every province across the country, not because an insufficient number of voters will cast ballots.
Suthep said the PDRC protesters and the Democrats are not afraid of being deprived of their political rights for failing to vote, because they believe the poll will definitely by nullified. Once the matter is brought to the Constitutional Court and the election is nullified, he said, a new Royal Decree for a new election will be issued and the Democrats would be able to run in that election. All parties, including the government, will accept the new election because the February 2 vote is coming to a dead-end, he said.
This issue was the topic of discussion between the government and the Election Commission at their meeting on Tuesday. The government decided to proceed with the election even though it knew it would be invalidated. But if the government defers the election, it may face suits and court cases. Some legal specialists, however, doubt that failing to hold voting on the same day across the country would lead to the election’s invalidation, as the law allows for voting to be postponed in areas hit by disasters or riots.