Council of State: Poll delay impossible

Council of State: Poll delay impossible

The Council of State, the government's legal arm, insisted yesterday it would be impossible to postpone the upcoming general election.

Council secretary-general Chukiat Rattanachaicharn said Section 108 of the constitution requires that the election be organised within 60 days of the House dissolution, or by Feb 6.

Prasaeng Mongkolsiri, third from left, aformer adviser to Deputy Interior MinisterWisarn Techathirawat and a coordinator of the redshirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship unveils the Palang Prachathipatai (Democracy Power) Party at a hotel in Bangkok yesterday to contest the Feb 2 general election. APICHIT JINAKUL

The poll has been set for Feb 2.

It would therefore be impossible to amend the royal decree on the election to allow the polls to be arranged at a later time, Mr Chukiat said.

Any move to change the election date would violate the constitution, he added.

Mr Chukiat said the political dispute should be resolved through dialogue either before or after the Feb 2 poll.

Election commissioner Sodsri Satayathum meanwhile reiterated that party-list candidate registration will be open from Dec 23-27, and constituency candidate registration from Dec 28-Jan 1.

The date for advance voting is set for Jan 26.

Ms Sodsri was speaking after a meeting with 18 agencies regarding preparations for the election.

She said the political situation was liable to change at any time as talks between the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee and other sides continue.

Several options were being discussed and proposed as alternatives to the traditional way of conducting the general election, she said.

The Election Commission (EC) is responsible for ensuring the election takes place on Feb 2, as required by the royal decree.

The only reason the poll would not go ahead is if political demonstrations turn awry, Ms Sodsri said.

She said she would encourage all sides to protect the nation's interests.

The EC earlier this week revealed that the poll will require a budget of 3.8 billion baht.

That figure is 400 million baht more than the cost of the previous general election in 2011, due to a rise in the number of eligible voters.

There are 48 million eligible voters for the upcoming election, according to the EC.

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