08 May 2006

"A one-party election is not normal..."

The Thai Constitutional Court today announced that the 2nd April general election, won by Thai Rak Thai, was invalid. They decided that the Election Commissioners were biased in favour of TRT, and that new EC regulations regarding polling booths were illegal. For the general election, polling booths were repositioned, so that EC staff could watch people as they voted. The Constitutional Court has declared this a gross invasion of privacy, and scheduled a new general election for 15th October. Thaksin will remain caretaker Prime Minister until the election, but will resign once a new PM is chosen by the winning party.

The Court's decision comes after the King made a rare public intervention in the political situation. In a speech to the Constitutional Court judges, he directly criticised the election, saying "A one-party election is not normal". For the past few months, anti-Thaksin protesters, who wear yellow to signify loyalty to the King, have called for a royally-appointed prime minister, citing article seven of the constitution. However, in his speech the King unequivocally dismissed any such proposal: "Article seven does not empower the King to make a unilateral decision. It talks about constitutional monarchy but does not give the King power to do anything he wants. If the King made a decision, he would overstep his duty and it would be undemocratic".