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06BANGKOK2688 CONSTITUTIONAL COURT ANNULS APRIL 2 POLLS

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“63140″,”5/8/2006 10:01″,”06BANGKOK2688″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,”06BANGKOK2646″,

“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

 

SIPDIS

 

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

voters.

 

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

political uncertainty.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

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