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Thailand: Court Invalidates Election

(Mar. 28, 2014) On March 21, 2014, Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s general election, held on February 2, is invalid. (Court Voids Feb 2 General Election, BANGKOK POST ONLINE (Mar. 21, 2014).) The election results were found not lawful by a six-to-three vote of the Justices, based on the fact that the voting was not completed in a single day throughout the country. (Addison Morris, Thailand Constitutional Court Declares February Election Invalid, PAPER CHASE NEWSBURST (Mar. 21, 2014).)

The decision came after the Office of the Ombudsman requested a review. That Office had received a complaint from a law lecturer at Thammasat University, Kittipong Kamolthammawong. Due to a lack of candidates during a time of anti-government protests, 28 of the 375 constituencies in the country did not hold elections on February 2. Protestors reportedly blocked candidates from registering and from voting in the areas in question. (Id.)

In its decision, the Court referred to a 2013 royal decree on elections for Thailand’s House of Representatives, which had required that they be held on February 2. (Court Voids Feb 2 General Election, supra.) According to Pimol Thampitakpong, Secretary-General of the Court, “[t]he process [now] is to have a new general election.” (Thailand to Stage Fresh Elections After Court Rules February Poll Invalid, THE GUARDIAN (Mar. 21, 2014).) It is expected that it will take three months before new elections can be held. Thailand has been in political conflict since a 2006 coup. (Morris, supra.)

The Constitutional Court, under the 2007 Constitution, is authorized to determine the constitutionality of legislation, whether at issue in a case or in a petition brought by an individual alleging violation of human rights. In addition, the Constitutional Court handles issues arising from conflicts between different branches of the government. (Bureau of Technical and International Cooperation of the Secretary-General of the Administrative Court, trans., Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, BE 2055 (2007) [unofficial translation], arts. 211-214, Isaan Lawyers website.)