New EC boundary ruling under fire
Politicians have cried foul over the regime's Section 44 order empowering the Election Commission (EC) to make changes to constituency boundaries and raised suspicions the order could be used to favour a certain political party.
Chaturon Chaisang, a key member of the Pheu Thai Party, said the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) demand in which the EC is authorised to examine complaints and revise the boundaries "if needed", is raising concerns about poll transparency because it will open the door to favouritism.
"Anyone who wants a constituency redrawn in their favour can protest and petition for changes. And redesigning the boundary doesn't require any regulations because [the NCPO's order says] it's legal and constitutional," he said.
"So, it's interesting to see if it is designed to favour any political party," he wrote on his Facebook.
He also said the order is an intervention in the EC's affairs, pointing out that it comes at a time when the poll agency is close to announcing the new constituency boundaries necessary for an election candidate screening process.
However, the regime claims the order is a response to growing complaints from parties and voters who say the redrawing of constituencies has failed to take public input into account amid allegations that local poll offices may not comply with criteria set down in redrawing the constituencies.
EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said the EC was ready to hold an election on Feb 24.
However, it has halted the announcement of constituency boundaries and will bring the matter to a meeting tomorrow.
According to Mr Chaturon, the regime's order may have a hidden agenda of pushing back the election and there could be more of these kind of orders which will only undermine free and fair elections.