PM sacks election commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn

Invoking his special power vested by Section 44 of the interim Constitution, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order, ordered the sacking of election commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn effective as of today (March 20).

The NCPO leader’s order 4/2561 which appears in the website of the Royal Gazette cited Mr Somchai’s improper conduct over his comments to the media about the election process and election timetable in an improper way resulting in confusion which may hinder the performance of duty of the Election Commission and the successful holding of the forthcoming election.

The order also cited the fact that Mr Somchai had applied for the post of the secretary-general of the Election Commission while still keeping his post as an election commissioner which is regarded as an act of conflict of interest. This, said the order, will put into question the legitimacy and fairness of the selection of the EC secretary-general.

On top of that, the order noted that, pending the selection of a new set of the Election Commission, it was necessary that the incumbent EC chairman and the other election commissioners had to stay on to perform their duties.

To ensure the smooth continuity of the performance of duty of the EC and to ensure that the next election will not be affected, the order stated that it was appropriate that Mr Somchai should be relieved of his duty with immediate effect.

Somchai said briefly after he was informed of his dismissal from the EC that he was told by an election commissioner to quit his post when he applied for the secretary-general’s candidacy, but he didn’t.