21 March 2014

“Don’t even dream that there'll be another election...”

Democracy Monument

This afternoon, the Constitutional Court declared that the election held on 2nd February was unconstitutional. Citing article 108 of the constitution, which requires that the “election day must be the same throughout the Kingdom”, the court argued that the election did not take place on a single date and was thus invalid.

People’s Democratic Reform Committee protesters led by Suthep Thaugsuban prevented candidates from registering in twenty-eight constituencies, and blocked voting at 11% of polling stations. Suthep’s anti-democratic agenda has never been in doubt, though he confirmed it again yesterday: “If the court rules the election void, don’t even dream that there’ll be another election. If a new election date is declared, then we’ll take care of every province and the election will fail again.”

The Constitutional Court’s judgement is in contrast to its verdict of 12th February, when it rejected calls from the opposition Democrats to nullify the election. Today’s verdict is hardly surprising, however, given that the court had previously nullified the 2006 election. The Democrats boycotted this year’s election, as they did in 2006, in the expectation that the result would be voided by the court.

Today’s verdict legitimises the protesters, and reinforces the impression that the judiciary lacks impartiality. In 2007, the Constitutional Court dissolved Thai Rak Thai though exonerated the Democrats. The following year, in what has been described as a judicial coup, it disqualified Samak Sundaravej for hosting a TV cookery show and dissolved the People Power Party.

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