Lack of clear rules risks causing delays
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Lack of clear rules risks causing delays

A seminar held yesterday by the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) warned that the lack of clarity on election rules risks causing a delay in the election process, especially since hundreds of thousands of candidates are expected to enter the race in the coming weeks.

At present, various professional groups are gearing up to elect 200 senators to succeed the 250-member Senate that was installed by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The five-year mandate of the junta-installed senators will actually expire tomorrow, but they will remain in office until the next batch of senators assumes office.

Applications for the Senate election will be accepted from Monday, with elections at district, provincial, and national levels to be held on June 9, June 16, and June 26, respectively. The results will be announced on July 2.

According to the 2017 charter, the new Senate will comprise 200 members and will not be directly elected by the public. The applicants will vote among themselves in three stages -- district, provincial and national.

Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, a law lecturer at Thammasat University, blasted regulations which allow candidates to only introduce themselves using an A4 poster that cannot be made public and prohibit them from giving media interviews.

"This will restrict their constitutional freedom," he said, noting the lack of clear regulations will result in numerous complaints regarding election law violations.

"As a result, the EC may not be able to announce the results on time," he said.

Separately, the Election Commission (EC) said yesterday candidates for the Senate election who have social media accounts are not deemed by law to own or hold shares in media companies, and as such, are eligible to contest the poll.

The EC made the announcement in response to questions on whether candidates who run their own websites, have Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and/or other social media accounts, are allowed to take part in the Senate election.

Section 14 (3) on the organic law on Senate elections prohibits owners of media companies, as well as shareholders in such companies, from running in the election.

The announcement came amid widespread criticism of the senator selection process, which observers say is riddled with flaws.

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