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EU says its poll observers wouldn't interfere with Thailand's election

EU says its poll observers wouldn't interfere with Thailand's election

The European Union said Thursday its proposal to monitor Thailand's first post-coup general elections, slated for December, would not amount to interfering in the electoral process.
The Thai government refused this week to sign an agreement proposed by the EU under which it would send a mission to observe the Dec. 23 polls, charging that it would give the observers too much power and influence over the process.
But Portuguese Ambassador Antonio de Faria e Maya, speaking on behalf of the EU, said the mission's role would be as neutral observers and it would play no part in running the elections.
"The EU does not interfere in the electoral process, let alone the sovereignty of the host country and has no authority to change, improve or correct any shortcomings or to request changes during the election process," Faria e Maya said.
The elections would be the first since a bloodless coup ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September last year.
The EU proposal had been criticized by both the state Election Commission and interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont.
Faria e Maya said the EU is interested in sending a mission to observe the elections because they are an important transitional process toward democracy. However, it will not send a mission if the host country declines, he said.
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 barred from politics. Thaksin has been living in self-imposed exile in London.
But many former Thai Rak Thai members of Parliament have joined a little-known party, the People's Power Party, signaling a possible comeback of those associated with Thaksin that would be not welcomed by coup leaders.
Many Thais who supported the coup against Thaksin, who was accused of corruption and abuse of power, resented Western criticism of the military takeover.
Some Western human rights groups and media commentaries described the action as a step backward for democracy, pointing to Thaksin's mandate at the polls. But some Thais said Thaksin had used his vast fortune to install a parliamentary dictatorship against the spirit of the country's constitution.


Updated : 2021-05-06 16:01 GMT+08:00