APRIL 2 POLL
200 candidates set to get the boot
Many members of minor parties found to lack qualifications, source reveals
Supporters of the Thai Rak Thai Party cheer at an election rally in Ubon Ratchathani yesterday. The party’s leader, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, gave a speech at the event.
At least 200 election candidates from small, little-known political parties were likely to be disqualified as they had been found to be ineligible, a highly placed source at the Election Commission said yesterday.
Most of the candidates had been members of parties they represent for less than 90 days before the election, the legal requirement, or had retained membership of more than one political party at the same time, the source said.
Commission chairman Vasana Puemlarp was concerned that with many candidates likely to be disqualified, the EC would be unable to endorse all 500 MPs within 30 days after the ballot, as required by law, the source said.
The EC is required by law to announce the list of qualified candidates by today.
EC member Prinya Nakchudtree said yesterday "there is quite a large number" of candidates who had qualification problems.
Local election officials had also found that many candidates in their provinces lacked basic qualifications to contest the April 2 election.
Chokchai Phonwattana, election director in Surat Thani, said yesterday that of 21 registered candidates in the province, 11 from all six constituencies could be disqualified because they lacked the qualifications to run.
Meanwhile, the TRT candidate for Samut Sakhon, the only candidate in the province, has withdrawn from the election, the EC said.
Constituency 3's Udom Kraiwatnusorn was disqualified because he failed to vote in the election last year. Electoral laws require a person to vote in order to qualify as a candidate in the next election.
Udom, who won Constituency 3's House seat in the 2005 poll, claimed the EC ruling was unjust because he contested the February 6, 2005, election and voted in the advance poll, which the EC staged for people who could not vote on polling day.
The EC, however, said it had no record to confirm Udom had actually voted, as claimed.
In Lampang, the local EC office disqualified Detduang Nasongkhla, from the Pattana Chartthai Party, because he had been a member for less than 90 days, local election director Kanok Sangngoen-on said.
Democrat and Mahachon parties, which are boycotting the election, said yesterday they had evidence to prove that many candidates from smaller parties lacked qualifications to run.
Meanwhile, in Trang, Thai Rak Thai candidate Thawee Suraban yesterday accused the Democrat Party of dirty tricks, by alleged that the ruling party paid three people to contest the election there under the banner of smaller, little known parties.
He said the Democrats initially supported the three candidates to run against the ruling party's candidates but later changed their minds.
The Democrats say "fake rival candidates" have been hired so that TRT can escape the rule that a single candidate must win at least 20 per cent of votes to get elected.