Somchai: Today's Violence Justifies Poll Postponement

Police officers escort a woman away from a group of anti-government protesters at a polling station in Bueng Kum district, 26 January 2014

(26 January) The 2 February general election should be postponed due to the violence which accompanies today's advance voting, an Election Commissioner insisted.


Mr. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, who oversees the arrangement of elections nationwide, also said he has already halted seminars and training session for over 1 million election staff because it would be a "waste of budget" since the election might not be held on 2 February anyway.
The Election Commissioner has previously echoed the demands of the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) that the 2 February election be scrapped.
Hundreds of PCAD supporters today marched to various election stations in Bangkok and other provinces to disrupt the advance voting sessions. Many of the election venues were subsequently closed down by EC officials almost as soon as the protesters showed up; out of Bangkok′s 50 polling stations, more than 40 have been shut down. 
The PCAD′s campaign to disrupt the election also comes at a cost. A core leader of PCAD was shot dead and many protesters injured during a clash with pro-government counter protesters during their attempt to close down a polling station in Bangkok′s Bang Na district.
The deadly violence only supported EC′s stance that the election should be postponed, according to Election Commissioner Somchai.
"What happened today shows that an election on 2 February will bear similar problems," Mr. Somchai said, "We are concerned about possible chaos and violence, which might result in deaths and injuries, like the incident at Sri Eiam Temple in Bang Na".

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