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Post-election legal challenges likely

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Sunday's general election is likely to face significant legal challenges, but not everyone agrees that they will lead to it being declared invalid. 

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Even if their vote is respected, the government they wish for may be a long way off. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Be sure to read to the end of the story. That is where you will read the opinion of the one person who seems confident the election is valid under the present constitution.Given his experience, his voice may count.

Poll likely to hit further snags

Lawsuits, unrest to mar formation of new govt

Aekarach Sattaburuth & Patsara Jikkham

Even if the general election can be held on Sunday as scheduled, it could still face further legal hurdles which will render it invalid, Election Commission member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn says.

He made the comments on his Facebook page yesterday, while other legal experts made the same observation. Those supporting the government's stance, however, argued this is not necessarily the case.

Mr Somchai said that shortly after Sunday's poll, opponents of the election are expected to file lawsuits to have it invalidated on the grounds that it must be held nationwide on a fixed day as stipulated by the constitution.

Mr Somchai said that after the election anyone can petition the Constitution Court to rule against the poll since it will not be held on a single day.

He added if the poll becomes null and void, the 3.8 billion baht which has been spent on holding the election will go to waste.

Mr Somchai said he had explained to the prime minister about the 28 constituencies in the southern provinces which have no candidates because protesters blocked candidate registration last month.

This Sunday's election is going ahead, but protesters may already have done enough to derail its results. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUL

Even if the election is held, parliament cannot convene because the number of MPs will fall short of the necessary 95% of the total 500 as required by the constitution, making it impossible to form a new government.

Mr Somchai said this problem will be solved in two to three months after Sunday's poll if candidate registrations are held again and at least three constituencies have candidates who manage to register.

Regarding the 125 MPs in the party-list system, Mr Somchai said the EC cannot formally announce winning candidates as it has to wait for election results from all polling stations nationwide, which number about 99,000. Without the results from all of them, the vote count cannot go ahead.

It is predicted that as many as 10,000 polling stations nationwide will not be open for voting and poll reruns therefore must be held, which could take at least four to six months, Mr Somchai said.

Advance votes were also needed before all the 375 winning candidates in the constituency system can be formally announced, Mr Somchai said.

About 2 million people could not vote in advance voting last Sunday and a new round of voting outside constituencies has now been scheduled for Feb 23. The vote count can begin only after ballot papers are delivered to each polling station, Mr Somchai said.

Considering the resistance to the poll, it may take three to four months to announce some winning candidates and four to six months to announce at least 95% of the 500 MPs to meet the constitutional requirement, he said.

Mr Somchai said Bangkok is still short of about 4,000 election personnel to man polling stations in the capital.

He said that if any polling units are disrupted on Sunday, poll reruns may be held again on March 2. This will be decided on by the EC again.

Pokin Polakul, a member of Pheu Thai's strategic committee, yesterday said he also did not believe Sunday's poll could take place in the 28 constituencies in the South and parliament will therefore be unable to convene.

He also shared the view that petitions will be filed with the Constitution Court asking it to invalidate the poll.

However, Mr Pokin insisted the election must go ahead on Sunday as planned and criticised the EC for not doing enough to solve the problems.

Legal expert Meechai Ruchupan expressed his view in an article entitled''Should we go to vote?'' that the election could become null and void if it cannot be held simultaneously nationwide on a fixed day. He also wrote that the government and the EC could both risk having criminal and civil lawsuits being levelled against them.

Former EC member Prapun Naigowit said he did not believe Sunday's election could be nullified.

He brushed aside arguments by poll opponents that it would not be able to take place nationwide on a fixed day.

Mr Prapun said the Feb 2 election is still considered a national election under a royal decree and the four-year tenure of MPs begins after Sunday's poll under the constitution.

This is only a postponement of elections at certain polling stations, not a postponement of the national election on Sunday.

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Vocabulary:

advance: before the time that is expected; before something happens - ล่วงหน้า

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

argument: a reason or reasons why you support or oppose an idea or suggestion - เหตุผล

ballot: the piece of paper on which someone marks who they are voting for - บัตรเลือกตั้ง

block: to stop something from being done or from succeeding - ปิด, กีดขวาง

brush aside: to refuse to accept that something is true - ไม่เชื่อ, ไม่ยอมรับ

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

capital: the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from - เมืองหลวง

certain: some; particular things, people or groups without giving any more details about it or them - บ้าง

civil: of a case filed a court that deals with non-criminal matters, especially complaints made by people against other people or organisations - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาลแพ่ง

confident: being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future - มั่นใจ

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

constitution: the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ

convene: to call a meeting - เรียกประชุม

criticise: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something - วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด

decree: an official decision or order made by a leader or government - พระราชกฤษฎีกา

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

disrupt: to prevent something from continuing as usual or as expected - ทำให้เสียกระบวน, ทำให้เสียระบบ, ทำให้สับสน

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

expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

file: to take official action like making a complaint - ยื่น, ยื่นคำร้อง

fix (a date): to decide on a date for something to happen -

formally: officially; following an agreed or official way of doing things - อย่างเป็นทางการ

formation: the process during which something develops or is created - การสร้าง

former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน

grounds: reasons for saying or doing something - เหตุผล

hurdle: a problem that you must solve before you can do something successfully - อุปสรรค

impossible: something that cannot happen - เป็นไปไม่ได้

insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน

invalid: not able to be used legally - เป็นโมฆะ

invalidate: to make something such as a document, contract, or process no longer legally effective - ทำให้เป็นโมฆะ

lawsuit: a case that a court of law is asked to decide involving a disagreement between two  people or organisations - คดีที่อยู่ในระหว่างการฟ้องร้อง  

legal: relating to the law - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย

level: (to level a charge, accusation, etc.) to say publicly that somebody is to blame for something, especially a crime or a mistake - กล่าวหา, ฟ้องร้อง

man: to be responsible for working at a particular place or operate a particular piece of equipment - ประจำที่

mar: to spoil something - ทำให้เสียหาย

nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ

not necessarily: possibly true but not definitely or always true -

null and void: having no legal force or effect - โมฆะ, ไม่มีผลบังคับ

nullify: to make a legal agreement or decision have no legal force - ทำให้โมฆะ, ทำให้ไร้ผล

observation: a comment, especially based on something you have seen, heard or read; the act of watching somebody/something carefully for a period of time, especially to learn something - การสังเกต, การเฝ้าดู, การสังเกตการณ์

opinion: your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact - ความเห็น, ความคิดเห็น, ทัศนคติ

opponent: someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you - ผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม

party-list: a system that gives each party in an election a number of seats in relation to the number of votes its candidates receive - ระบบสัดส่วน, ระบบปาร์ตี้ลิสต์

personnel: the people who are employed in a company, organization or one of the armed forces - บุคลากร, เจ้าหน้าที่, พนักงาน

petition: to ask someone in authority to do something - ยื่นคำร้อง

poll: an election - การเลือกตั้ง

polling station: the place where people vote in an election - หน่วยเลือกตั้ง

polling unit: polling station; the place where people vote in an election - หน่วยเลือกตั้ง

postponement: delay - การเลื่อนออกไป

predict: to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience - คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า

registration: the process of recording names or information on an official list - การขึ้นทะเบียน, การลงทะเบียน

render: make or cause to be - ทำให้

rerun: something that is done again; something that is done in the same way as something in the past - การทำใหม่, การเริ่มใหม่

resistance: a refusal to accept something or allow it to happen - การต่อต้าน, การขัดขืน

respect: to accept the importance of someone's rights or customs - เคารพ

risk: to cause someone or something to be in a dangerous situation - เสี่ยงอันตราย

round: one of a series of events, activities, etc. - รอบ

rule (of a court): to make a decision - พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด

scheduled: planned to happen at a particular time or day - ตามตารางเวลา

simultaneously: happening at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน,ที่พร้อมกัน

snag: (informal) a problem or difficulty, especially one that is small, hidden or unexpected - อุปสรรค, ปัญหาเล็กน้อย

solve: to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation; to find out who is responsible for a crime - แก้ปัญหา, คลี่คลาย, หาคำตอบ

stance: your attitude, views or opinion about an issue - ความเห็น , จุดยืน

stipulate: to state exactly how something must be or must be done - ระบุ, ระบุเงื่อนไข

strategic: involving strategy and planning; important for achieving a particular goal, especially in war, business, or politics - ทางยุทธศาสตร์

tenure: the period of time during which someone has an important job - ช่วงระยะเวลาที่ดำรงตำแหน่ง

the case: the true situation - สถานการณ์จริง

unrest: angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something - สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ

valid: legally accepted or in force - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย, อย่างมีเหตุผล

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