Academics pan election verdict

Academics pan election verdict

A group of academics calling themselves the Assembly for the Defence of Democracy (AFDD) yesterday issued a statement opposing the Constitution Court’s ruling to void the results of the Feb 2 general election.

Constitution Court judges on Friday voted 6-3 to rule that the Feb 2 poll was unconstitutional because it was not completed in one day.

The court ruling followed a complaint lodged by Kittipong Kamolthammawong, a law lecturer at Thammasat University, via the Office of the Ombudsman.

The second paragraph of section 108 of the charter stipulates that a general election must be held on a single day nationwide.

But voting could not be carried out in 28 constituencies of eight southern provinces on Feb 2, after anti-government protesters with the People’s Democratic Reform Committee prevented election candidates from registering in the areas.

The court also ruled that all plans to hold second-chance voting in the 28 constituencies after the Feb 2 date were unlawful. If such poll re-runs had been held, they would have violated the one-day stipulation, the court said.

The AFDD said the Office of the Ombudsman is permitted to forward complaints regarding the constitutionality of legal provisions to the court, as set out in Section 245 of the charter.

But they argued the office did not actually have the authority to handle complaints concerning the general election, which is not covered by that part of the law.

The group added that the charter stipulates only that "election day must be the same throughout the Kingdom", not that a general election be held and completed in one day nationwide.

The academics warned that the charter court was wrong to try and use the 28 southern constituencies with no candidates as an excuse to nullify the poll, since general election voting proceeded smoothly in most constituencies nationwide on Feb 2.

They said the PDRC and its supporters had obviously worked together in a conspiracy to derail the Feb 2 poll and destroy democracy in the country.

The group also accused the Election Commission of failing to comply with its legal duty to hold the election properly.

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