(21 March) The 2nd February general election has been nullified by the Constitutional Court thanks to the anti-government protesters' campaign to besiege poll venues and seize ballot equipment.
In a ruling which will likely add more uncertainty to the ongoing crisis in Thailand, the judges ruled that the election result is unconstitutional on the ground that the poll was not held on the same day across the kingdom, as required by Article 108 of the 2007 Constitution.
Majority of the judges – 6 out of 9 – argued that no election was held in 28 southern provinces on 2nd February, where protesters led by the People's Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) had blockaded numerous poll stations, besieged election registration venues, obstructed the transportation of ballots, and forced the officials of Election Commission (EC) to suspend their duties.
The disruptive campaign was called by PCAD leaders in order to scupper the 2 February election and replace Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra with an unelected "People's Council", which would implement a series of national reforms before any election would be allowed to be held.
Although the election on 2 February was largely peaceful, the PCAD had previously launched a series of intimidating campaigns to dissuade the voters from casting their ballots during the advanced voting day on 26 January, and attempted to storm the candidate registration venue at Din Daeng Stadium in Bangkok late last year, leading to violent clashes with the police which left several people dead.
Today's verdict will therefore likely anger many supporters of the government, who have viewed the PCAD's anti-election campaigns as a pretext for the court to nullify the 2 February election. Many Redshirts activists have also accused the judicial powers of collaborating with the anti-government protesters to oust Ms. Yingluck.
The verdict does allow for a new election to be held – the judges have instructed the government to "consult" with the EC to arrange another poll – but it is unclear whether a new round of voting will resolve the crisis.
The Democrat Party, the main backer of the PCAD movements, has previously boycotted the 2 February election and stated that it might also boycott another election, citing the need to "reform" the political system first.