A file photo of an Election Commission news conference. Image: Election Commission of Thailand’s PR division / Facebook

BANGKOK — Grievances over campaign malpractice, no matter how urgent, will have to hold till next week because nearly all members of the Election Commission are traveling overseas.

Media reports on Wednesday said six of the seven commissions will return to Thailand on Sunday, and will meet Monday to sift through the backlog of accumulated complaints. By law, the agency cannot meet if it lacks a quorum of five members are present.

Two members are in the United Kingdom, two in the United States and two in Germany. Chairman Itthiporn Boonprakong is scheduled to fly to Singapore on Friday.

The agency said the trips are necessary, work-related visits to facilitate overseas voting and study the voting mechanisms of other countries.

Their absence comes at a time their adjudication is in high demand. It is unclear how many complaints are in the hopper, but the agency said it had received more than 200 cases as of late February. The number was so staggering that sec-gen Charungwit Phumma threatened to file criminal charges over any bogus petitions.

Prior to their departures, the commissioners were set to deliberate on a number of key challenges and complaints, such as whether junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha can be a candidate for the premiership due to his status as government leader.

Although the law allows meetings to take place via video conference, the fact that the members are traveling in different time zones makes doing so impossible, a source in the commission said.

The combined cost of the trips is estimated to be about 12 million baht, the commission said.