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06BANGKOK2336 RE-RUN ELECTIONS TO BE HELD AMIDST A CLOUD OF LITIGATION

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“61285″,”4/21/2006 8:59″,”06BANGKOK2336″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“06BANGKOK2156|06BANGKOK2294″,

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

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002336

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV, TH, Elections – Thai, Southern Thailand

SUBJECT: RE-RUN ELECTIONS TO BE HELD AMIDST A CLOUD OF

LITIGATION

 

REF: (A) BANGKOK 2294 (B) BANGKOK 2156

 

1. (SBU) Summary: The Thai electorate will head for the

polling booths again on April 23 to try to resolve some 40

lower house constituencies where no candidates had been able

to garner more that 20 percent of the votes in single party

polls in the earlier general elections (and one where the

single candidate was later disqualified). The rerun votes

are being held amid a giant legal scrum of petitions and

counter-petitions between the Thai Rak Thai (TRT), the

Election Commission of Thailand (EC), the Democrat Party (DP)

and the People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD). While the

goal of the EC is to resolve all seats to allow Parliament to

sit, no one is holding their breath — election officials are

planning to hold another round on April 30 — just in case.

End summary

 

VIRTUALLY ALL POLLS TO BE HELD IN THE SOUTH

 

2. (U) The re-run polls are taking place virtually all in

the south, where strong support for the opposition DP\’s

boycott and deep animosity towards TRT denied the TRT

candidates their minimum 20 percent of the voters in the

absence of an opponent. Apart from Samut Sakhon, near

Bangkok, the southern provinces where Sunday\’s polling with

take place include Songkhla, Chumphon, Narathiwat, Satun,

Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Phang-nga, Pattalung,

Phuket and Surat Thani. (Note: Embassy officers will monitor

the polls in Sognkhla and Samut Prakhon. End note.)

 

COURT TURNS DOWN DP BID TO SCRAP ELECTION RE-RUN

 

3. (U) In the lead-up to the polls, the interested parties

are engaged in a flurry of legal suits. On April 20, the

Central Administrative Court dismissed the complaint of the

DP\’s Deputy Secretary-General against the Election Commission

for violation of the election law. In his complaint, Deputy

Secretary General Thaworn charged that the Election

 

SIPDIS

Commission\’s orders for the registration of candidates to be

held on April 8-9 and for the election to be re-run on April

23 were illegal.

 

4. (U) In its ruling, the court stated that though Thaworn

had the right under the Constitution to file lawsuits against

the Election Commission, the Election Commission\’s orders on

candidate registration and election re-run were not

considered as the exercise of administrative power. It also

said this judgment was based on the precedent decision of the

Constitutional Court, which was final and bound every party,

including the Administrative Court itself. For this reason,

it said, the Administrative Court shall have no authority to

accept Thaworn,s complaint for consideration.

 

SOME EC OFFICIALS RESIGN TO PROTEST CENTRAL OFFICE DECISION

TO ALLOW NEW APPLICANTS TO REGISTER

 

5. (SBU) In Songkhla, election directors of 3

constituencies formerly with single candidate resigned after

the Election Commission ordered them to conduct another round

of new candidate registration this week to contest in the

April 23 polls. Four other Songkhla EC officials announced

that they will quit, then changed their minds, the Songkhla

Election Director told us on April 21.

 

COURT PETITIONED TO SCRAP ELECTION RE-RUN IN SONGKHLA

6. (U) Also in Songkhla, on April 20, members of the DP

leadership filed an emergency petition with the

Administrative Court of Songkhla that called for the

cancellation of the new-round registration of candidates in

that province as well as for the scrapping of re-run votes

for 7 stand-alone constituencies. On the same day

representatives of the Songkhla PAD, the Teachers, Council

of Prince of Songkhla University and \”the Lovers of Songkhla\”

filed yet another emergency petition with the Administrative

Court of Songkhla to scrap the re-run polls. A source to us

that, following the filing of the petition with the court,

about 100 members of the Songkhla Lovers Group moved in a

protest motorcade to the homes of the 4 candidates from small

political parties who had registered the previous day for the

re-run vote. The group also reportedly called for Songkhla

voters to dress in black when going to the polls and to mark

the No Vote, block in their ballots.

 

THAI RAK THAI OFFICIAL URGES SENATORS LINKED TO PAD RALLIES

BE DISQUALIFIED

 

7. (U) Meanwhile, TRT Deputy Spokesperson Chatuporn

Phrompan on April 20 called on the EC to disqualify

successful Senate candidates who had used PAD forums to

appeal for votes. Chatuporn criticized Nakhon Ratchasima

caretaker Senator Kraisak Chunhavan, for publicly alleging

that at least 170 of the successful candidates have had a

close tie with Thai Rak Thai (Note: We have heard

allegations that over 100 new Senators may have links to

Thaksin and the TRT, but not 170. End note) Chatoporn

charged that many of the successful candidates were those who

had used PAD rallies to introduce themselves to the public as

candidates for the forthcoming Senate election (See ref. b.

This is a no-no according to Senate election rules, which

essentially bar Senate candidates from campaigning.) He

added that the speeches of those candidates were both

broadcast live and recorded on VCDs for later distribution to

the public.

 

SOUTHERN ELECTION VIOLENCE FEARS

 

8. (SBU) The legal turmoil leading up to Sunday\’s vote is

occurring amidst increasing concern in Thailand\’s deep south

that separatists will mount attacks at the time of the polls.

Reportedly, scores of election officials and volunteers have

tendered resignations for fear of violent attacks by the

insurgents. In the Senate elections on the 19th 3 died and

more than a dozen were injured in what were believed to be

separatist attacks. Not surprisingly, election officials and

volunteers are nervous over prospects of renewed attacks on

the 23rd.

 

FINAL RESOLUTION? DON\’T COUNT ON IT

 

9. (SBU) Comment: The upcoming polls will likely catalyze

another flurry of charges and petitions to the country\’s

courts, which will reinforce the current air of uncertainty

overhanging Thailand\’s political landscape. There has been

no discernible softening of the anti-TRT sentiment among the

great majority of voters in the country\’s south. Not very

many observers here believe that there will be a clear TRT

winner in each constituency and a clean path to seating a

Parliament. In fact election monitoring officials have told

us that the EC is contingency planning for another possible

round of voting on April 30.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 7:55 am

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