Thai MP total 'could fall short' if blockades continue

Thai MP total 'could fall short' if blockades continue

THAILAND - A former election commissioner warned yesterday of an impending political deadlock that could make a new House of Representatives unable to function properly.

Sodsri Sattayathum, former member of the Election Commission (EC), expressed her concern yesterday that the February 2 election may end up producing fewer than the required minimum of 95 per cent of House members.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said yesterday it was likely that some commissioners would resign if pre-election violence threatened to escalate. However, he added that he did not think any such resignations would take place in the near future.

"When no other way out is available for the country, the EC members will assess the situation and make our decision when the time is right. We may use this option [resignation] to ease the situation and end the problem," Somchai said.

He met government representatives yesterday to discuss ways of easing the conflict ahead of the February 2 poll. Protests occurred in many southern provinces after candidacy registration for constituency MPs began on Saturday.

Somchai said he would meet with three high-ranking representatives of the government at an undisclosed location, but he declined to identify them.

The discussion would focus on whether the election could be postponed to avoid further violence, he said.

He would also meet representatives of the main group organising anti-government protests, the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), later today.

PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said yesterday the group was happy to meet with election commissioners about the matter.

Sodsri said yesterday that she feared that as candidacy registration was blocked in many provinces, the number of MPs would fall short of the 95-per-cent threshold required to open Parliament.

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