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Thai premier rejects EU's proposal to monitor elections

Thai premier rejects EU's proposal to monitor elections

Thailand's military-appointed prime minister said Wednesday he opposed a proposal by the European Union to monitor the upcoming general election, which would be the first since a coup ousted disgraced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra last year.
The EU had proposed signing a memorandum of understanding with Thailand's official Election Commission to take part in independent monitoring of the polls, slated for Dec. 23. But the commission Tuesday rejected the EU proposal, and interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said he agreed with its decision.
Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party, which won landslide election victories in 2001 and 2005, will not take part in the polls, because it was dissolved by court order in May for electoral fraud committed last year. More than 100 of its top members, including Thaksin, have been banned from politics.
But many supporters of the former leader, now in exile, have gathered under the auspices of another party, the People's Power Party, posing the prospect of a comeback that would be unwelcome by those who overthrew Thaksin, who was accused of corruption and abuse of power.
"There are two kinds of monitoring the situation. One is to observe and another one is to control. The MoU that they asked us to sign would have more a controlling nature rather than an observing one," Surayud told reporters.
"It is up to the Election Commission to decide who should be sent to monitor and on what level. We apply Thai laws and do not want others to have more authority than our own (election) officials," he said
Election Commissioner Aphichart Sukhagganond said Tuesday that the EU's proposed terms would have let it operate completely independently in a manner that could interfere with the work of election officials.
Political temperatures are expected to rise as parties prepare for the election.
Thailand on Aug. 19 held a national referendum that approved a new constitution, clearing the way for the new polls. The military, which is the power behind the interim government, had strongly backed the proposed charter, and was accused by critics of unfairly managing the vote.
The results of the constitution referendum, while approving the new charter, also registered a strong "no" vote, which has been interpreted as showing continuing support for Thaksin.
Thaksin, a billionaire who made his fortune in telecommunications, was abroad at the time of the bloodless September 2006 coup, and remains in exile. He faces several legal cases in Thailand on corruption charges, and has said he will not return before the election.


Updated : 2021-02-27 09:10 GMT+08:00