EC to consult Foreign Ministry on EU request to monitor February election 

The Election Commission will have to consult relevant agencies, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before it can decide whether or not to allow the European Union to send observers to monitor the election next February, said EC chairman Itthiporn Boonprakong on Thursday.

However, he said  the EC is currently too preoccupied with the mapping of poll constituencies to consider the EU’s proposal. It would be another two weeks before it has time to study the proposal.

It has been a practice for the past 15 years by the EC to allow observers from foreign  countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to send observers to monitor elections in Thailand provided that they comply with the Thai law and the conditions set by the EC .

For instances, he said that foreign observers must notify the EC where they would want to go to observe the election. And if they choose to visit the trouble-plagued Deep South, they need to seek prior permission as some areas there may not safe, said Itthiporn.

“If they make a request and promise to follow our conditions, there should not be any problem.  But if they want to come to do something beyond the scope of observers, then we must know what they really want and we have to consult other relevant agencies such as the Foreign Ministry or the government,” said Itthiporn.

The EC chairman disclosed that the EU in the past had asked to send Election Expert Mission (EEM)  to monitor elections in Thailand but this time it asked to send an Election Observation Mission which is larger and more complicated than the EEM and may not fit in with the Visitor Programme of the EC.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Tuesday said Thailand doesn’t need the presence of foreign observers, insisting that the country is capable of holding a free and fair national vote.“Allowing foreign observers here means we have problems. It would mean that we can’t take care of ourselves,” he said


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