Students launch campaign to impeach EC
800k sign petition online, uni campuses
published : 29 Mar 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Dumrongkiat Mala
Students from nine universities across the country launched a petition on Thursday to demand the impeachment of the Election Commission (EC), accusing it of mishandling Sunday's election, in light of reports of alleged poll irregularities.
Calling themselves "The New Generation People for Social Change", the students have invited members of the public, as well as students, to sign in support of impeachment via the change.org website.
It was reported that more than 800,000 people have already signed the petition, including voters in New Zealand whose ballots were invalidated. Meanwhile, across nine university campuses, tables have also been set up on campuses to allow students to sign.
The nine universities taking part in the impeachment campaign include Chulalongkorn, Thammasat (Rangsit campus), King Mongkut Institute of Technology (Thon Buri campus), Kasetsart (Bang Khen campus), Chiang Mai, Naresuan, Burapha, Prince of Songkla (Pattani campus) and Rajabhat Rachanakharin.
Thanawat Wongchai, a former president of the Chulalongkorn University Student Council who started the campaign, said he has already received hundreds of written submissions, adding that after receiving legal advice, he and his friends decided to have a hard copy petition in addition to the online one.
"We need at least 20,000 written submissions," he said.
The Thammasat University Student Union also issued a statement saying that commission officials must be investigated because their sloppy procedures resulted in ambiguous election results, while the Chulalongkorn University Student Council issued a statement demanding an explanation from the EC about widespread allegations of irregularities.
There were also reports that student campaigners at Kasetsart University (KU) Bangkhen Campus on Thursday were barred by the university from campaigning and collecting signatures from other students.
One lecturer posted a video and photos showing a group of campaigners being stopped by plainclothes police officers and the university's security guards. As a result, campaigners were forced to campaign outside the university instead.
KU rector Jongrak Watcharinrat later said he did not know about the incident and insisted that students have the right to hold any campaign on the campus as long as it's not against the law.
Meanwhile, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam, said the impeachment process would be long as the Senate is required by law to forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
If the commission finds sufficient evidence, the Senate will decide whether to remove the accused officials.
- university student