Prayuth Victory Via Senate Will Cause Chaos: Election Observer

Laddawan, third from left, speaks Friday at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.
Laddawan, third from left, speaks Friday at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

BANGKOK — A prominent election observer warned Friday that a pro-junta minority government that relied on the votes of the military-appointed senate to make Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha premier would lead to political chaos.

Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, vice president of independent poll observation group P-NET, said Friday the duty of senators is to act as a body of checks and balances, not to select the government.

“I think it will create chaos because they have no legitimacy,” Laddawan said.

The remarks came as Uttama Savanayana, leader of pro-junta Phalang Pracharath Party, said Thursday that its party would immediately seek to form a government, even if it fails to win the majority of lower house seats.

This led to the speculation of a possible minority government, where the pro-junta party would rely on receiving all the votes of the upper house. Under the constitution drafted by the current rubber stamp parliament, the 250-seat senate will be entirely appointed by the military and can vote for the prime minister along with the lower house’s 500 MPs.

“The party which wins the most seats should be the one to form the government,” Laddawan added.

P-Net said at a Friday press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that it had received a number of complaints and observed how bribes were handed for voters to attend rallies in central Thailand by parties on both sides of the political divide.

“The government approved to allocate an additional 50 percent raise of the village health volunteer allowance just a week before the election and allocated a government budget worth 37.9 billion baht for the [Phalang] Pracharath fund,” P-Net said in a statement.

It urged the Election Commission to investigate the matter.

In a related development, the European Union delegation in Bangkok – which Thai government has not invited to observe the elections – issued a statement Friday afternoon saying it would however mobilize diplomatic staff members to act as “diplomat watch” on Sunday.

“The European Union in Thailand welcomes the holding of elections as a milestone on the country’s path back to democracy and wishes all Thai people a peaceful and meaningful Election Day,” the press statement read.