06BANGKOK2688 CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ANNULS APRIL 2 POLLS
“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 BANGKOK 002688
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/08/2016
TAGS: PGOV, TH, Elections – Thai, Thai Political Updates
SUBJECT: CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ANNULS APRIL 2 POLLS
REF: BANGKOK 2646 AND PREVIOUS
Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION ALEX ARVIZU. REASON: 1.4 (D)
1. (C) Summary: In several split decisions, the Thai
Constitutional Court ruled that the April 2 general elections
were unconstitutional, the results null and that a new
election must be held for the lower house of Parliament. The
timing of the new polls is uncertain. With the incumbent
Election Commission discredited in the eyes of much of the
nation the question now is whether it has sufficient
credibility to run the next round of elections and, if not,
how a successor body will selected. There is also the
looming question of the impact of the Court rulings on
Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin\’s possible return to head
the government in the next parliament. End summary.
COURT RULES LAST MONTH\’S POLLS VOID
2. (U) Judge Ura Wangomklang announced May 8 that, in a 8-6
split decision, the Thai Constitutional Court had ruled that
the April 2 general elections were unconstitutional. In two
separate 9 to 5 decisions, the Court ruled that the poll
results were null and void and that a new election must be
held for the lower house of Parliament. The multiple
decisions were reportedly based on the Court\’s determination
that the election was set too soon after Parliament\’s
dissolution, and that the positioning of the voting booths at
the polling stations violated the confidentiality of the
WHEN THE NEW ELECTIONS? UNCHARTED TERRITORY
3. (SBU) According to the Constitution, an election must be
held within 60 days of the Parliament\’s dissolution. But
this is a case of an election held within 60 days of
Parliament\’s dissolution being voided. The question of
exactly when the new polls are to be held remains uncertain.
It nominally remains for the Election Commission to decide.
4. (SBU) But the Election Commission itself is an issue.
The EC, mandated to supervise the polls, has lost a good deal
of its credibility in the wake of the court decisions.
Already accused by many of its detractors of being in the
pockets of the TRT, the EC\’s supervision of the next polls
will probably invite a crescendo of protests. If its current
members resign, an act many observers say is imminent, it is
unclear what needs to be done for a new EC to be set up, a
necessary precondition for the next round of election
preparations to begin in earnest.
WHAT WILL THAKSIN DO?
5. (C) Comment: And then there is the question of Thaksin.
Reftel reports the May 3 comments of Thaksin\’s chief policy
advisor, Pansak Vinyaratn, that the caretaker Prime Minister
would run again in the next election if the Constitutional
Court annulled the April 2 election. This would, in the eyes
of many, run counter to Thaksin\’s promise, when he stepped
down on April 4, not to return as Prime Minister during the
\”next parliament.\” Pansak opined, however, that a new
election would free him to come back. The opposition
People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is already threatening
to take its objections back out onto the streets if Thaksin
reneges on his promise. As such, the Court\’s May 8 decisions
are likely to nudge the country back into another round of