Court accepts petition on Senate poll rules
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Court accepts petition on Senate poll rules

The Constitutional Court yesterday accepted for consideration petitions filed by Senate election candidates asking it to rule if four controversial provisions in the organic law governing the poll are in breach of the charter.

However, the court did not issue any injunction, finding it did not foresee any serious repercussions from the Senate poll proceeding. The court added the Election Commission (EC), which is responsible for holding the election, is empowered to intervene to prevent any problems.

At the centre of the controversy are Sections 36, 40(3), 41(3) and 42(3) of the Senate election law. Section 36 involves the self-introduction of the candidates while the three others deal with voting -- both in the same group and across professional groups -- at the district, provincial and national levels.

The court voted 8:1 to accept for a ruling whether the provisions are in violation of Section 107 of the charter, which outlines the Senate selection process. The court also instructed state agencies to submit their opinions to the court within five days of receiving the order.

The decision to hear the case came ahead of the district-level election on Sunday.

There were also complaints about alleged collusion to manipulate the results with a claim by caretaker Senator Somchai Swangkarn that up to 149 candidates were already earmarked as winners at the district and provincial levels before the vote.

Another caretaker senator, Direkrit Janekrongtham, yesterday urged the EC to investigate the complaints about alleged collusion before the district-level elections go ahead.

He said the three-level elections will be closely related and if unqualified candidates were allowed in, the entire process and the result would be called into question.

Wanchai Sornsiri, another caretaker senator, yesterday warned the public to watch out for a political movement seeking to install themselves in power.

On Facebook he wrote the movement planned to derail the Senate election process, topple the government and have the main opposition Move Forward Party dissolved.

He said the movement wanted to instigate turmoil to gain more bargaining power. If the government was brought down, things would go back to square one or could even create conditions for a coup, he said.

The EC yesterday announced the venues for the Senate polls for all three levels, with the national-level contest scheduled for June 26 at Impact Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi.

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