EC must be ready for poll
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EC must be ready for poll

With its complex rules and unclear regulations, the Senate election is predicted to induce a major headache. Yet, the conundrum surrounding it is far beyond any expectations.

A few days before the district stage on Sunday, alarming allegations of collusion were made.

Among them is the unsubstantiated accusation by caretaker Senator Somchai Swangkarn that 149 candidates are pre-determined winners and that collusion is taking place in the provinces.

These accusations indicate a number of lawsuits will be filed against candidates and winners. The big question is: how long does it take for the Election Commission to endorse 200 elected senators? It must be noted that the current charter does not impose a deadline for the EC to do so officially.

A time bomb was activated on Wednesday when the Constitutional Court accepted petitions filed by Senate election candidates asking for a ruling on whether four controversial provisions in the organic law governing the poll are a breach of Section 107 of the constitution, which outlines the Senate selection process.

The court also instructed the EC to submit its opinions to the court within five days of receiving the order. It means that the EC needs to provide the court with clarification by Wednesday, just three days after the first election round.

The pending court case will only place a huge dark cloud over the Senate election process. What will happen if the charter court finds that every EC process has violated the charter?

While the court has not issued any injunction over the matter as it reportedly did not see any serious repercussions, it is hoped that the EC, which is responsible for holding the election and preventing any problem, has backup plans and solutions to deal with problems ahead.

So far, EC chairperson Ittiporn Boonpracong has said that any particular case will go to the Supreme Court.

The EC simply cannot rely on a court to decide on the outcome of an election. As the agency responsible for running elections, it needs to have a plan and be prepared to respond to potential problems.

So far, the EC has not shown one.

Among the many valid questions it must answer is what the EC will do with disqualified election winners.

Lest we forget, the EC cannot simply hold regular by-elections as it has in the past with other elections. The rules for the Senate election are vastly different, if not mind-boggling.

The contest, according to the charter, is an indirect race, with candidates from 20 professional groups voting among themselves in three stages -- district, provincial and national -- followed by cross-voting and draws.

The big question is, what type of by-election is the EC prepared to hold to find replacements for those who are disqualified?

Is the EC ready to address this problem?

It must be stressed that the charter does not stipulate a by-election for new senators.

Today, the EC will hold its final meeting to prepare for Sunday's election. The EC must clear up these questions before proceeding. It is hoped that the EC is ready to run a fair and smooth election.

Failure to do so will mean the country will have to live with the current caretaker senators, who were handpicked by the junta government.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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