Judge decides against Election Commission rules
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Judge decides against Election Commission rules

People register to run for a Senate seat in Bang Kapi district, Bangkok, on Monday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
People register to run for a Senate seat in Bang Kapi district, Bangkok, on Monday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

A judge at the Administrative Court has suggested that some of the Election Commission's (EC) regulations governing how candidates for the Senate election introduce themselves should be scrapped, as requested by complainants who submitted a petition.

The court on Tuesday held its first hearing on a case involving a petition filed by a group of activists and candidates asking it to rule against the EC regulations, which they said restrict candidates' use of social media and mass media to introduce themselves to the public.

They said EC regulations Nos 5, 7, 8, 11(2) and 11(5), which took effect on April 27, are causing many candidates to shun expressing their opinions in public or giving interviews to the press.

They also requested an injunction to temporarily suspend these regulations until the court hands down a ruling.

An Administrative Court judge assigned to present a written report on the case to the other court judges made the suggestion.

The judge set forth the arguments of the parties involved in the dispute, summarised the facts and law raised in the dispute and presented suggestions to other judges.

Regulation No.7 was cited, which allows candidates to introduce themselves using no more than two A4-sized pieces of paper, to sum up their resumes. These are intended for their fellow candidates and are strictly prohibited from being made public.

The new Senate will comprise 200 members and will not be directly elected by the public.

Applicants will vote among themselves in three stages -- district, provincial and national.

Some candidates, the judge argued, do not know much about each other, so the summary of their resume on two A4 pieces of paper is not practical, and the public would have no information about the candidates.

The judge suggested that the terms "no more than two A4 pieces of paper" and "being introduced among themselves and not to the public" are against the law and should be deleted from the regulation.

The judge also said Regulation No.11 (2), which prohibits candidates from the media and advertising professions from using their careers to introduce themselves, is discriminatory.

Candidates from other professional groups, the judge argued, can also use their careers to benefit their Senate election campaigns.

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