The meeting was led by senior lawdrafting chairman Plang Meechul and attended by all lawdrafting committee heads, including National Legislative Assembly Speaker Meechai Ruchuphan.
"The review of the three red cards was primarily based on the investigative report of the Election Commission as the three disqualified candidates did not request to testify," Meechai said.
Under election laws, the appellate review was designed to check on the adherence of legal procedures for the red cards and not to examine evidence leading to the punishment, he said.
The three disqualified candidates are Prakit Pholdet, Pornchai Srisuriyanyothin and Rungroj Thongsri. Following the Council of State decision, they are entitled to pursue two options - appealing for the EC to cancel the red cards by citing fresh evidence or, should this fail, litigating in the courts of justice to seek an overturn.
Council of State deputy secretarygeneral Atchaporn Charuchinda said steps to check on the ECissued red cards included the verification of work done by the ECappointed investigative panel, the defence rebuttals and the EC's opinions on the investigative report.
"The EC followed every prescribed step and allowed the defence to adequately rebut the charges before issuing the red cards," he said.
The Council of State found the EC disqualified the ballot results based on evidence of electoral fraud and that the EC had a full mandate to exercise its discretion in weighing between the evidence uncovered by the investigation and that submitted by the defence, Atchaporn said.
The issuing of red cards and the subsequent review followed precedents set by the last two general elections, he said, arguing that the established procedures were sanctioned by the 2007 Constitution and its organic laws.
The EC strictly followed the rules of evidence as prescribed by Article 104 of the MPs and Senators Elections Act.
Atchaporn said that if the three disqualified candidates disagreed with the red cards, they could seek a judicial review.
A defence argument that the three were denied a chance to testify before the fivemember EC was misleading and irrelevant, he said. The defence had already presented rebuttals via an ECappointed panel and the EC factored in the defence evidence before reaching its conclusion.
People Power deputy spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the three would today petition for the judicial review by the Supreme Court.
Pending the completion of the judicial review, the three plan to ask the high court to issue three injunctions - suspending the revote, revoking the EC's order to remove the three from the electoral process and cancelling the EC's regulations to allow its appointed panel to examine defence evidence, he said.
Rungroj said he and his two fellow candidates were confident in winning an overturn of the red cards.
People Power spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang said his party had strictly observed the electoral rules and that no one should try to link the party for wrongdoing committed by candidates.
Kuthep said his party was prepared to rebut every charge relating to electoral fraud and other violations.
In regard to votebuying charges involving the deputy party leader, he said Yongyuth Tiyapairat should be able to clear his name and have his charges dropped after testifying before the EC today.
by Piyanart Srivalo