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Election uncertainty

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There are only 10 days to go before the scheduled Feb 2 election and there is no guarantee things will go smoothly, says EC commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn. 

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The Election Commission' s worries are not limited to the South. Here, protesters mob the provincial hall in Samut Prakan province, adjacent to Bangkok, on Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 to prevent local officials working. SUTTHIWIT CHAYUTWORAKAN

EC remains uncertain about polls

Emergency decree no guarantee polls will go smoothly, says election commissioner

Mongkol Pangprapha
Saritdet Marukatat

Worried election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn APICHIT JINAKUL

The use of the emergency decree in the Bangkok area is not a guarantee the polls will go ahead smoothly because anti-government protesters remain defiant, election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said on Wednesday.

Mr Somchai admitted he was not certain the polls could be held as planned on Feb 2 even though the declared state of emergency took effect on Wednesday.

"The other side has already announced that it will move to every area it is banned from by the decree,'' he told Chulalongkorn University radio, referring to the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest led by Suthep Thaugsuban.

"It's like taking medicine. It is going to take a few days to see the effect,'' he added.

The 60-day Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations is in force in all areas of Bangkok and adjoining Nonthaburi province, in Lat Lum Kaeo district in Pathum Thani province where the Thaicom satellite station is located, and Bang Phli district in Samut Prakan province, the home of Suvarnabhumi airport.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Tuesday that the goal of invoking the decree is to safeguard the election and bring the political situation under firm control amid the relentless protests by the PDRC.

But first the government has to overcome a stumbling block centred on a conflict with the Election Commission (EC), which is responsible for organising and ensuring free, fair and safe polls. The commissioners want the poll to be either postponed or cancelled and on Wednesday sought a ruling from the Constitution Court on who has the authority to postpone the polls, arguing that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has both the responsibility and authority to do so.

Ms Yingluck has repeatedly said the government has no authority to change a royal decree setting an election date.

The EC is worried there could be a deadlock after the election as it seems clear the new House of Representatives would not have the legal quorum to convene in its first meeting. It is also concerned about  the growing violence surrounding the protesters trying to derail the polls.

The House needs 475 of the 500 MPs present to convene and select a new prime minister. Candidates were not able to register in 28 constituencies in the southern region because of protests by PDRC supporters.

The court can rule in any of three ways on the issue. It could decide the caretaker premier has responsibility for the election date, that the authority rests with the EC, or that it is not within the court's jurisdiction to make a decision.

Mr Somchai, in the interview with Chulalongkorn University radio, refused to say whether the EC would postpone the poll if the court rules that the EC has authority to do so.

Meanwhile, the EC promised to go ahead with preparations for the polls as long as the date remains unchanged.

However, Mr Somchai on Wednesday made his preference clear. "An election is not divine. It can be postponed if it cannot be held,'' he told reporters on Wednesday in Songkhla.

Somkit Lertpaitoon, a legal adviser to the Election Commission, warned the caretaker government on Tuesday that it would be held responsible for whatever develops if it decides to go ahead with the election on Feb 2.

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Vocabulary:

adjacent: very near, next to, or touching - ติดกัน

adjoin: to be next to and connected to - มีเขตแดนติดกัน

admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ

advisor: a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา

amid: during the time when something else is happening - ท่ามกลาง

argue: to give reasons why you think that something is right/wrong, true/not true, etc, especially to persuade people that you are right - ห้เหตุผล, อ้างเหตุผล

authority: power - อำนาจ

banned: officially not allowed to do something - ถูกห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ

cancel: deciding to stop something that has been arranged from taking place - ยกเลิก

candidate: a person who is trying to be elected - ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง

caretaker: in charge for a short time, until a new leader or government is chosen - รักษาการ

caretaker government: a temporary government that is in charge of a country until a new government is elected - รัฐบาลชั่วคราวที่ตั้งขึ้นเพื่อรอการเลือกตั้งครั้งใหม่

commissioner: a member of a commission; a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists - กรรมาธิการ ผู้ได้รับมอบหมายอำนาจหน้าที่

concerned: worried about something   - มีความกังวล

conflict: an angry disagreement between people or groups - ความไม่ลงรอยกัน

constituency: a district that elects its own representative to parliament - เขตเลือกตั้ง

Constitution Court: the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution - ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ

convene: to call a meeting - เรียกประชุม

deadlock: a situation in which neither person or group involved in a disagreement is willing to change their opinions or positions - หมดหนทาง ไม่มีทางแก้

declare: to announce officially - ประกาศ

defiant: refusing to obey a person or rule; refusing to accept that something is true - แสดงการท้าทาย, ไม่ยอมทำตาม, ไม่เชื่อฟัง

deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

derail: to prevent something from continuing in the way that it was planned - ทำให้ล้มเหลว

divine: like a god, or relating to a god - เกี่ยวกับเทพเจ้า ที่สูงส่ง

effect: a change that somebody/something causes in somebody/something else; a result - ผลกระทบ

Election Commission: the independent government agency that oversees elections - คณะกรรมการเลือกตั้ง

emergency: an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน

emergency decree: a situation where the government takes on special powers in a dangerous situation and the rights of the people are often limited in some way - ประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉิน  

ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

goal: aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย

guarantee: a promise or certainty that something is correct, will be done or will happen - คำรับรอง, การประกัน

hold responsible: to blame someone or something - ต้องรับผิดชอบ

interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

invoke: to use a rule or law as a reason or basis for doing something - ประกาศใช้ (กฎหมาย), อ้าง (กฎหมาย)

issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น

jurisdiction: the authority that an official organisation has to make legal decisions about somebody/something - เขตอำนาจตามกฎหมาย

legal: allowed by the law - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย

legal: relating to the law - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย

limit: to stop something from increasing beyond a particular amount or level - จำกัด

local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

located: where something is - ตั้งอยู่

meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

mob: (of a crowd) to gather round someone/something, often in order to gain attention - ห้อมล้อม, รุมล้อม

overcome: to succeed in controlling or dealing with something - ต่อสู้อุปสรรคจนสำเร็จสำมารถดำเนินการต่อไปได้

PDRC: People's Democratic Reform Committee, an anti-government protest group, headed by Suthep Thuagsuban - กปปส. คณะกรรมการประชาชนเพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลงประเทศไทยให้เป็นประชาธิปไตยที่สมบูรณ์ อันมีพระมหากษัตริย์ทรงเป็นประมุข.

poll: an election - การเลือกตั้ง

postpone: to delay; to decide that something will be done at a later time - เลื่อนออกไป

preference: something that you want or like most - ความต้องการ

protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง

protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง

quorum: the smallest number of people who must be present at a meeting to allow official decisions to be made - องค์ประชุม, จำนวนบุคคลที่กฎหมายกำหนด

refuse: to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ

register: to put your name and other information on an official list in order to be allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, stay in a hotel etc - ลงทะเบียน

relentless: never seeming to stop - ซึ่งไม่หยุด, ซึ่งไม่ยอมผ่อนผัน

reporter: someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news - ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว

responsible for: to have a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ

ruling : a decision by a court of law - คำตัดสิน คำชี้ขาด

safeguard: to protect something/somebody from loss, harm or damage; to keep something/somebody safe - ป้องกัน, ปกป้อง, คุ้มครอง, อารักขา

satellite: an electronic device that is sent into space and moves around the earth or another planet. It is used for communicating by radio, television, etc. and for providing information - ดาวเทียม

situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

smoothly: happening or continuing without any problems - โดยไม่มีปัญหา

sought (past tense of seek): tried to get/do something; asked for something - พยายามได้, พยายามได้มา

state of emergency: a dangerous situation in which the government takes on special powers and the rights of the people are often limited in some way - ภาวะฉุกเฉิน   

stumbling block: an obstacle; a difficulty or problem that prevents you from achieving something - อุปสรรค ขวากหนาม

surrounding: to be closely connected with a situation or an event - เชื่อมต่อกัน เกี่ยวข้องกับ

take effect: to begin to be used or required - ส่งผล

uncertain: not feeling sure about what to do, whether something is true etc - ไม่แน่ใจ, คลางแคลงใจ

violence: physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย

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Related search: Thailand general election, Bangkok Shutdown, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, Election Commissioner

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