11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made clear today that the Election Commission will be the sole authority to decide whether or not to allow foreign observers to monitor the forthcoming election tentatively scheduled for February 14.

However, Gen Prayut insisted that Thailand must solve its own internal problems to ensure transparency and fairness in order to restore international community’s confidence in Thailand.

Asked by a reporter if there will be any problem if international organizations ask to come to observe the election, the prime minister did not reply but just nodded his head.

He said the Election Commission will need to decide whether any foreign observers will be welcomed.

His comments came a day after Foreign Minister Don Paramudvinai reiterated that it would not be necessary for foreign observers to be here to monitor the election.   He said holding elections is an internal  affairs of Thailand which is capable of holding them without needing help from foreign observers.

The minister, however, said he had no objection if any of the foreign embassies here wants to send its staff to observe the election, but it must notify the Election Commission in advance.

There were earlier reports that the European Union sought permission from the Election Commission to send a delegation of poll observers here.  But the reports were later denied with a presentative of the European Union in Bangkok insisting that it had never asked to send poll servers for the February-24 election.

Meanwhile, political parties have voiced their disagreement with Foreign Minister Don’s stand on the issue.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit said Sunday that allowing foreign observers to monitor the election would lend it more credibility and would help improve the government’s image.

He said that it was a common practice in several countries that foreign observers were allowed or invited to observe their polls. He said the Democrat Party has been invited to observe several elections overseas.