Thai embassy in Finland faces election notice probe

Thai embassy in Finland faces election notice probe

Don: Left in the dark
Don: Left in the dark

The Foreign Ministry denied yesterday having ordered the Thai embassy in Finland to encourage Thai nationals there to prepare for this year's expected general election, scheduled to be held in November.

The announcement made on Tuesday by the Thai embassy in Helsinki came as a shock to Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, who insisted yesterday he had no prior warning or knowledge of the issue.

He made the remark after learning the embassy had posted an announcement on its Facebook page "Royal Thai Embassy, Helsinki" regarding the government's preparations for the election.

The embassy reportedly wrote that it wants to "invite Thai nationals living in Finland and Estonia who want to exercise their rights to vote outside the kingdom to prepare documents".

The post has since been taken down.

They were told to ensure their national identity cards and passports are on hand as they will need the two documents to register before the election.

If either one has expired, or there are any changes to their personal information, they "must contact the embassy and follow correct procedures", the announcement said.

The ministry will investigate the matter, Mr Don said.

"I've already ordered officials to look into it," he added.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said late last year the government will hold a general election in November and is not likely to delay the date again.

Its timing has caught the eye of politicians and democracy advocates after the military-engineered government announced its roadmap to democracy following the 2014 coup.

The coup was rationalised as a way of ending the violent conflict between the Pheu Thai administration and anti-government protesters.

The government is closely monitoring the political atmosphere as it hopes for a peaceful lead-up to the poll.

Over the New Year holiday, Gen Prayut warned the election may be marred by long-running conflicts between political groups.

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