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06BANGKOK2124 THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE – RESULTS, RESULTS, COME AND GET THEM!

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“60075”,”4/11/2006 10:59″,”06BANGKOK2124″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L

SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 002124

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/10/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH, Elections – Thai,

SNAP Elections, Thai Political Updates

SUBJECT: THAILAND POLITICAL UPDATE –

RESULTS, RESULTS, COME

AND GET THEM!

 

Classified By: Political Counselor Susan M. Sutton reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Election Commission (EC) has not yet

released official election results, more that one week after

election day. The press have carried unofficial results for

the April 2 elections, declaring the Thai Rak Thai (TRT)

Party the winner of the party-list candidates and confirming

that 39 constituencies would hold by-elections on April 23.

Candidate registrations for this second round of elections

took place over the weekend, and TRT candidates who failed to

reach 20% support during the first go will now face opponents

from other microparties. There are at least 11

constituencies in the South in which TRT candidates will run

unopposed, making it almost impossible for the election to

have a successful outcome. Meanwhile, controversies swirl

over both the April 2 election and the April 23 repeat

voting. The Democrat Party is crying foul over the

\”mis-positioning\” of voting booths, the registration of new

candidates, and the subsequent \”constituency-hopping\” by six

microparties during candidate registration. They and the PAD

have filed complaints with the Administrative Court and some

even hope to have the elections annulled. The Administrative

Court may announce a decision on registration of additional

candidates as early as April 12. Altogether, these are

significant obstacles to the seating of a new Parliament by

early May. End Summary.

 

ROUND ONE

———

 

2. (U) The Election Commission has not released official

election results from the April 2 polling. Responding to

repeated inquiries, they have said only that they are

carefully checking the results. They have already announced

the need for a complete re-vote in Samuk Sakhon, a province

close to Bangkok, where the number of ballots and the number

of voters do not match, Scattered press accounts have

alleged similar discrepancies in other places, but no firm

information is yet available.

 

3. (U) In the Thai system, voters cast two ballots, one for

a constituency race (400 seats), and one for the national

\”party list\” (100 seats). Attention is focused particularly

on the party list vote, which was seen as the closest measure

of Thai Rak Thai (TRT) and Thaksin support. The press

accounts of the results differ as to the raw numbers, as well

as showing apparent arithmetic mistakes, as some of the

numbers do not add up as presented. On April 6, the press

carried unofficial results of the party list vote, based on a

press conference given by an Election Commissioner. Until the

Election commission provides official results, these are the

best numbers we have:

 

PARTY LIST (millions) (Percent)

Total voters 29.16 (64.5 of total eligible

voters)

 

TRT Party list 16.20 (55.8)

\”no-vote\” votes 9.10 (31)

Spoiled ballots 1.78 ( 6)

Other small parties 1.72 ( 5)

 

(Note: the four elements listed do not total 29.16 million.

These are presented as reported.)

 

4. (U) A separate press report, not sourced directly to the

Election Commission and of unknown origin, gave the following

results for the constituency race:

 

CONSTITUENCY (millions) (Percent)

Total voters 28.77 (63.7 percent of total eligible)

 

TRT Candidates 15.4 (53.5)

\”no-vote\” 9.2 (31.9)

spoiled ballots 3.5 (12.2)

 

This source did not list a result for smaller parties, but

based on the above, we can estimate:

 

Other small parties (est.).67 ( 2.3)

 

ROUND TWO

———

 

5. (SBU) 38 re-votes are required across 16 provinces, mostly

in the South, but including two in the Central region. In

addition to the repeat voting in Samuk Sakhon, one additional

repeat vote will be held in Nonthaburi because all of its

candidates were disqualified before the April 2 race. The

high number of spoiled ballots is widely reported to reflect

additional protest votes against the ruling TRT and the PM,

with many ballots defaced with expressions from the merely

rude to the outright obscene. Many were also reportedly left

blank, perhaps by voters confused by the redesigned ballot,

which had moved the \”no vote\” block to a different part of

the form. In last year\’s election, 2.9 percent of the party

list ballots were spoiled, and 6 percent of the constituency

— in each case, less than half of the rate this year.

 

PLEASE DON\’T RUN…

——————-

 

6. (C) Candidate registrations over the weekend for the

by-elections closed with 94 candidates running in 39

constituencies. As of April 11, there are at least 11

constituencies in the South having a sole TRT candidate

running again on April 23. (Comment: The number of sole TRT

candidate constituencies may increase as the week progresses

as the EC checks each candidate his or her qualifications.

End Comment.) Would-be microparty candidates in the southern

provinces of Songkhla and Phuket were greeted by hoards of

people outside the local election offices – some kneeling and

\”kowtow-ing\” – pleading for them abstain from registering for

the elections. While the crowd reportedly succeeded in

keeping new candidates from registering in four of the

constituencies in Songkhla, other candidates who did register

were sent off with verbal abuse from the crowd.

 

BRING IN THE REFEREES:

———————-

 

7. (C) There has been remarkably little concern in the

public about the long delay in the release of official

election results. This may be, in part, due to the many

challenges to the vote and attempts to have the entire

process either blocked or annulled. Below are a selection

of the growing number of cases being brought to the courts

regarding the election.

 

RIGHT TO SECRECY

 

8. (U) The Democrat Party (DP) has filed a complaint against

the EC with the Administrative Court for violating Section

105 of the Constitution, which guarantees a person the right

to direct suffrage and secret balloting. The DP maintains

that the EC \”mis-positioned\” the voting booths, enabling the

election officials to see how a person voted while at the

booth. (The booths were positioned so that the voter\’s back

was to the polling station, rather than having his back to

the wall.) One Democrat speculated that the Administrative

Court might annul the elections over this issue. (Comment:

This seems unlikely, but it is getting hard to rule out

anything in this unprecedented situation. End Comment.) The

EC announced yesterday that it will revert to back to the

previous arrangement for the April 19 Senate elections.

Although none of our observers saw anyone monitoring voters,

the position of the booth clearly permitted such monitoring

in some places, including a few where even we could see the

ballot papers being marked. International poll monitoring

organization ANFREL circulated a video in which the cameras

clearly recorded the votes of several prominent figures,

including the PM\’s wife (no surprise — she voted for TRT.)

The People\’s Alliance for Democracy reportedly is also

petitioning the Administrative Court calling for the

elections to be annulled, based on the same shortcomings.

 

RIGHT TO REGISTER NEW CANDIDATES

 

9. (U) The DP also filed an objection to the Administrative

Court over the EC\’s decision to register new candidates for

the rerun election on April 23. The DP maintains that this

decision must be implemented by a royal decree, and not

simply a order by the EC. They also claim that the EC cannot

prepare the re-voting in constituencies before it has even

announced the results of the initial polling, since it is not

yet \”official\” that the revote is needed. The EC claims it

has the right to order such adjustments in procedure in order

to have a successful outcome to the polling.

 

CONSTITUENCY-HOPPING

 

10. (U) The DP found that six of the microparties in twelve

constituencies \”hopped\” from their original registered

constituency on April 2 to another during the candidate

registrations for the April 23 round. They claim that the

candidates \”hopped\” to constituencies where the TRT party

candidate would otherwise run unopposed, thus showing that

they are not real candidates, but are only running to help

TRT evade the 20 percent rule. There does not seem to be any

legal obstacle to this practice, however.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

11. (C) The troubles faced by this election are not over

yet. The long delay in announcing results is a source of

concern, but many may see the results as moot, given

Thaksin\’s political \”break\” and the unclear path forward to

seating a Parliament resulting from this vote. Despite the

opposition suspicions of the EC, it has made a number of

decisions that ran counter to TRT interests, most importantly

the disqualification of microparty candidates in many places.

However, the EC\’s efforts to finish the election process,

one way or another, tend to be seen as benefiting TRT. The

Administrative Court is one of the few independent bodies

that still has any reputation for impartiality, and its

decisions could have a big impact. The ruling on permitting

the registration of new candidates may come as soon as April

 

12. Although we do not believe that the voting booths were

positioned with the intent to intimidate voters, this simple

mistake may be one of the shortcomings of the election which

is easiest to prove and litigate, and therefore most

damaging. End comment.

 

BOYCE

Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

Posted in Confidential, Election

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