The 2 February general election passed without serious violence; most of the valid votes cast were almost certainly for the governing Pheu Thai party. That was the good news for the government. The bad news was that the election was sufficiently disrupted to end with a lower-than-usual turnout, and millions of voters blocked from voting by the anti-government PDRC movement. These elections will have to be run again to fill the minimum of 95% of seats in parliament required by the constitution before a new government can be formed. That includes polling stations where advanced voting was obstructed on 26 January, and the 28 constituencies where protesters blocked any candidates from registering. The re-runs could take many weeks, and will surely be obstructed again. It is a finishing line Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s party is battling to cross, with her opponents determined to stop her; a war of attrition being waged on several fronts.
The most visible front is the courts. Both the Pheu Thai party and the opposition Democrats have petitioned the Constitutional Court to have the other dissolved, something the court has done twice in recent years to previous incarnations of Pheu Thai. The court has rejected both petitions.
Legally, it is difficult to understand this argument. The election could not be held on one day largely because of the actions of a protest movement to which the Democrat party gives thinly-disguised support.
The use of section 68 is even more baffling. This section outlaws any actions that could threaten the existing democratic system, with the King as head of state. The Democrat argument appears to be that in calling the election at a time of turmoil, and against the advice of the Election Commission, the government put the political system in jeopardy.
Full Article: BBC News – No grand bargain amid Thailand political crisis.