Protests mar candidacy registration in southern provinces

Registration of constituency candidacy in several southern provinces on Saturday was rendered impossible due to protests.

In Chumporn province, hundreds of protesters laid siege to the election centre in Muang district, making it impossible for election officials and candidates to get in prompting the police to negotiate with the protesters to allow the registration to proceed.

However, it was reported that the election director had abruptly resigned rendering the registration of candidacy impossible until there is a replacement which is being considered by the provincial election commission.

In Krabi province, protesters laid siege to the election centre and put up a banner in front of the centre which reads: “Reform First before proceeding…”.  It was reported that election officials were unable to get into the centre and were waiting outside.

Blockade of election centre was also reported in Nakhon Si Thammarat where protesters attacked the government and the Election Commission for proceeding with the election without undertaking reform.

Protest was also staged in Satun province but the protesters did not block the election centre.

Election commissioner for electoral affairs Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said Saturday that officials would try to negotiate with protesters to lift the siege to allow the registration to proceed.  However, he added that he would assess the situation to determine what to do next.

The commissioner disclosed that the EC would try to bring the government and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee to come together for talks about the election before the yearend.  But he declined to disclose where the meeting was to take place.