Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon confirmed today (Feb 23) that the National Council for Peace and Order did not interfere with the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) over its rejection of the seven candidates nominated as the election commissioners by the selection committee.
Gen Prawit’s confirmation was in response to criticism that the junta might be behind the NLA’s Feb 22 decision to further put off the election.
The NLA’s rejection of the seven candidates which passed the qualifications tests of the selection committee means that the selection panel will have to select a new set of candidates within 90 days.
Asked whether this means that the election will be put off, the deputy prime minister said: “Let’s wait until June, we will talk about it.”
The question about whether the election will be postponed or not was raised by European Union Ambassador Pirkka Tapiola meeting during his meeting today with Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Jantong who assured them that the election is still within the roadmap.
Meanwhile, NLA member Dr Jate Sirathranont maintained that the assemblymen voted in accordance with the information they received, which covered the qualifications of the seven candidates and the selection process.
He suggested that the selection process and the qualifications of the candidates should be revised.
His idea about the selection process should be reviewed was supported by Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, the outgoing election commissioner.
Mr Somchai said he believed the NLA’s rejection of the seven candidates did not stem from interference from the NCPO, but from the selection process which might not conform with the criteria specified by the Constitution.
He pointed out that the selection process was not appropriate as it barred certain people with resourcefulness and capability from applying for candidacy. Moreover, the selection was not done openly and also the selection committee did not present to the NLA the votes received by each of the seven candidates from the selection committee.
He warned that if the selection process was not rectified, the NLA might, again, vote down the candidates nominated by the selection committee.