Thai Election Commission threatens to sue over rice payments delay claims

Farmers hold signs in front of a combine harvester during a rally demanding the Yingluck administration resolve delays in payment from the rice pledging scheme.

The Election Commission is threatening to sue anyone who claims the agency is responsible for the government's repeated postponement of payments to farmers who sold rice to its price-support scheme.

EC commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn dismissed claims yesterday that the agency barred the government from seeking loans to finance the scheme.

More than a million farmers across the country are owed money under the scheme.

"The EC has no mandate whatsoever on the issue," Somchai said. "It's just that the Constitution prohibits a caretaker government from incurring debts that will affect the next government."

He produced a photo of an Internet message that read: "Why can't farmers get payments from the rice-pledging scheme? The EC tried to prevent the payments."

Somchai's picture was attached to the message.