'No need' for election monitor
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday shrugged off calls by political parties to permit foreign organisations to observe the general election, saying that there is no need for foreign observers as Thailand has its own election regulator.
Gen Prawit made his comments even though on Monday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the Election Commission (EC) will decide whether to allow foreign organisations to observe the election. His remark came amid growing calls to bring in international monitors.
Instead, Gen Prawit retorted by saying that not all countries allow foreign observers to monitor their elections.
When asked what would happen if any party refuses to respect the election results, Gen Prawit said such a scenario is "imaginary".
Gen Prawit said he is confident he would be able to take care of public security. "Security agencies are working to improve security nationwide," he said.
In response to political observers who said the Feb 24 election will not be democratic as it would neither be fair nor transparent, Gen Prawit said everyone is entitled to their opinion, and the government and the EC have not done anything that indicate the election won't be democratic.
Meanwhile, Ladawan Wongsriwong, spokeswoman for the Pheu Thai Party, urged the prime minister to uphold his promise to ensure the election is free and fair.
The government's responses toward calls to permit international observers to monitor the election does not seem to align with Gen Prayut's promise, she said.
"If Gen Prayut aims to be a decent and democratic politician, he should begin by ensuring the general election is internationally accepted," she said.
If the results of the general election aren't accepted by other countries because the government barred international observers from coming in to do their jobs, it will likely shatter international investors' confidence and consequently hurt Thailand's economy, she said.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is against the idea of allowing international election observers, despite the fact that he is a former ambassador who should have been well aware of the importance of having international observers in ensuring transparency in the election, she said.
Mr Don has opposed the idea of allowing non-residents or foreign organisations to observe the polls but has welcomed embassy staff involvement.
The international community is eager to know which direction will Thai politics go, as this will be Thailand's first election after the 2014 military coup, she said.
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