Protesters disrupt poll registration in Thailand

Protesters disrupt poll registration in Thailand

Anti-government protesters yesterday managed to interrupt the first day of candidate registration for the February 2 election, which demonstrators have vowed to disrupt as they push for national reform by a people's council.

Hundreds of protesters began to besiege the Thai-Japanese Sports Stadium, the candidacy registration venue in Din Daeng area, on Sunday night. They blocked six gates to the stadium.

The process of party-list candidate registration had yet to be completed, election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said at a press conference along with his four commission colleagues after the blockade by protesters.

Somchai said all submitted documents needed to be verified, and Election Commission (EC) members had not endorsed the registration, plus political parties had yet to make registration payments.

However, the EC announced that 34 political parties were regarded as submitting their party-list applications before 8:30 am on the first day for registration. They were all eligible for lot drawing to allocate party-list numbers.

EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said representatives from nine parties managed to enter the compound, including the ruling Pheu Thai Party and its coalition Chart Thai Pattana, and Chart Pattana Party, because they arrived early at 3-4am.

He said 24 other parties could not reach the venue and they filed complaints at Din Daeng police Station to notify their intention to contest in the party-list election, while another party filed a complaint at the Police's Crime Suppression Division. Even the five commissioners could not enter the compound.

"We closely monitored the situation. We tried to get into the building but they told us that no guarantee for safety so we decided not to walk through the crowd," Supachai said.

Somchai reaffirmed the EC would neither move registration to another venue nor extend the registration period as scheduled for registration of party-list candidates, currently due to end on Friday, at the stadium.


 

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