Cabinet clears path for election
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Cabinet clears path for election

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Election Commission's (EC) draft decree to begin the process of electing a new Senate to succeed the 250-strong military-appointed chamber whose tenure is due to expire on May 11, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said.

Under the decree, applications will be accepted from May 13 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.

They will be selected from 20 different professional groups, with 10 seats available for each group. There will also be a reserve list of five candidates in each group.

It is estimated that about 100,000 people will stand in the Senate poll.

According to the EC, the military-appointed Senate will remain in office until the new chamber is officially endorsed.

Meanwhile, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a United Thai Nation (UTN) Party list MP, on Tuesday urged the public to keep a close watch for possible manipulation of the election.

He cited alleged moves by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, chairman of the Progressive Movement (PM) and former leader of the now-defunct Future Forward Party (FFP), who has been urging his supporters to contest the Senate election.

Mr Thanakorn also accused Mr Thanathorn of distorting facts about the 2017 constitution and the Senate's power to endorse the members of public independent agencies, particularly the Constitutional Court.

The UTN list-MP said he suspected Mr Thanathorn holds grudges against the Constitutional Court, which dissolved the FFP and is reviewing a petition that could potentially lead to the breakup of the Move Forward Party, the reincarnation of the FFP.

Earlier, Senator Somchai Sawangkarn also called on the EC to take action against any attempts to manipulate the election of new senators.

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