EC sets date for Senate race applications
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EC sets date for Senate race applications

Hopefuls can sign up from May 20-24

The Election Commission (EC) announced on Monday that the application period for candidates to run in the next Senate election has been set for May 20-24. This will be followed by the intra- and cross-professional group elections from June 9 to 26.

The announcement was made after a royal decree declaring the Senate election was issued on Saturday, the day the term of the current batch of coup-appointed senators expired.

On Monday, the EC decided on the important dates on the Senate election calendar.

The new Senate will comprise 200 members from 20 professions and will not be directly elected by the public.

The applicants will vote in three stages, starting with intra-professional groups and then inter-groups at the district level.

Successful applicants from various professions who emerge from the district-level polls will go on to cast inter-group votes at the provincial and national levels.

EC Senate poll applications will be accepted by the EC from May 20-24, including the May 22 Visakha Bucha public holiday, at respective district offices.

The intra-elections at the district level will take place on June 9, to be followed by inter-elections at the provincial level on June 16. The final inter-group election at the national level will be held on June 26.

Dates agreed upon by the EC will be sent to the cabinet secretariat office ahead of being published in the Royal Gazette.

The latest development came amid fears over a low applicant turnout on account of the complex voting processes which has already led the EC to schedule an urgent meeting with the media on Tuesday to clarify Senate poll queries.

Poll rules -- viewed as being restrictive on media coverage, which has left many reporters uneasy with regard to being able to do their jobs -- will be clarified in Tuesday's meeting, according to EC secretary-general Sawang Boonmee.

Mr Sawang added that the EC will dispel any doubts people might have about the EC wrapping up the Senate poll within the legal limit of 60 days.

The commission will also be educating the media about the roles and make-up of the incoming senators and what powers the current, out-going senators have.

"We're fully aware that people want to be confident in the EC's ability to address the queries.

"That is why we fixed today's meeting so the media can spread the word about the election," he said.

Wisut Chainaroon, a Pheu Thai list MP, said several individuals he knew personally have decided not to run for a Senate seat due to the complexity and cost associated with the multi-tier poll.

The elections also inevitably involve mind-boggling regulations to be issued, the MP said, adding he has learned of certain political groups conducting a quasi-canvassing campaign for prospective candidates ahead of the royal decree declaring the Senate election.

Few Senate election application forms have been picked up at the Dusit district office so far.

It reported that only 28 people as of Monday have obtained application forms from the district.

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