Ombudsman drops Somchai’s petition to seek charter court’s ruling on EC law

The Office of the Ombudsman has rejected a request by an election commissioner to seek the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Election Commission bill passed by the National Legislative Assembly.

The office’s secretary-general Mr Raksakecha Chaechai said on Friday (Jan 12) that the ombudsman has resolved to drop the request by Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, an election commissioner, to seek the Constitutional Court’s ruling on whether Section 70 of the Election Commission Bill is a violation of the constitution and against the rule of law.

Section 70 stipulates that Section 70, the five incumbent election commissioners have to leave the job after the law becomes effective. Seven new commissioners will be recruited within four months.

Somchai Srisuttiyakorn

Mr Raksakecha said after receiving the petition from Mr Somchai, the ombudsman asked the Constitution Drafting Commission chairman Meechai Ruchuphan and the National Legislative Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai to clarify the matter.

The CDC and the NLA insisted that Section 70 complies with the rule of law and the constitution and was not an act to persecute any EC commissioners.

The ombudsman agreed with the CDC and the NLA’s opinions that election commissioners coming to work with their own consent, therefore, leaving the job should not be considered a punishment but merely a consequence of the law.

The ombudsman viewed that the article regarding the removal of EC commissioners is legitimate and decided not to seek the Constitutional Court’s ruling as requested by Mr Somchai, he said.

Regarding the selection of new election commissioners, the selection committee is in the process of scrutinizing the records of seven persons nominated for the posts. The committee is expected to submit the  nominations to the NLA for approval in March.