Court ruling welcomed by all
While public fears of lawlessness and violence were stemmed yesterday by the landmark court decision putting a stop to the planned third round of voting to decide the general election in the South, political parties and activists were also left pleased by the ruling.
In the wake of the Administrative Court's injunction stopping today's election in 14 constituencies, Democrat Party deputy secretary-general Thaworn Senneam said the injunction would avoid unnecessary expenditure of state funds, because today's planned round of voting could soon be could be ruled invalid.
He said stopping the vote would ease people's minds and stop potential conflict.
Had the vote gone ahead, voters might have torn up their ballot papers or caused themselves injury to protest against it, he said.
Thai Rak Thai Party spokesman Sita Divari said the matter obviously fell within the sphere of the court's authority.
Sita said that because a final decision on the validity of the April 2 election had yet to be made, another round of voting would be unfair. He said Thai Rak Thai would respect the court's decision and expected all other parties to do the same.
Community radio host Chalee Noppawong na Ayutthaya, a leader of protests against the election in Songkhla, said the court's ruling had gone some way towards restoring public faith in the justice system. "It will also stop protesting voters from breaking the laws as they probably would have torn up their ballot papers." A spokesman for the People's Alliance for Democracy Suriyasai Katasila said the Election Commission should stop any move for a new election and properly examine all pending complaints, such as allegations that small parties had been paid to contest the election.
The former opposition parties had also filed complaints against the Election Commission and asked the court to nullify the April 2 election.
Constitution Court's new judge
The 17-member Supreme Administrative Court yesterday nominated Judge Udomsak Nitimontri for royal appointment to the bench of the Constitution Court.
The nomination was approved unanimously following an impasse for more than a year because none of the judges had offered to move to the new position.
The job cross-over between the two courts can be done on a voluntarily basis only.
Udomsak is one of four judges appointed to the Supreme Administrative Court last month.
He is a career judge who started in the justice courts and held a key appointment in the Supreme Court.
After Udomsak's transfer, the Constitution Court will have a full bench of 15 and is expected to elect its new president.
Judge Phan Chantarapan has been the court's caretaker leader because a quorum of the full bench is required to fill the vacant presidency.