Court shakes up Senate race: Judge advises removal of EC regs
Court shakes up Senate race: Judge advises removal of EC regsLegacy

A judge at the Administrative Court has advised the removal of certain Election Commission (EC) regulations that govern how Senate election candidates introduce themselves, following complaints from petitioners.

Activists and candidates filed a petition against the EC regulations, arguing that they overly restrict candidates’ use of social media and mass media to introduce themselves to the public. The court held its first hearing on the case yesterday.

The petitioners targeted specific EC regulations: Nos. 5, 7, 8, 11(2), and 11(5), implemented on April 27. They claimed these rules deter candidates from expressing their opinions publicly or giving interviews to the press. An injunction was also requested to temporarily suspend these regulations until a court ruling is made.

An Administrative Court judge prepared a written report summarising the arguments, facts, and laws involved in the dispute, and suggested that some regulations be scrapped.

Regulation No. 7 was highlighted, which permits candidates to introduce themselves using no more than two A4-sized pieces of paper to summarise their resumes for fellow candidates. This information is prohibited from being shared with the public.

The new Senate will comprise 200 members who will not be directly elected by the public. Instead, applicants will vote among themselves in three stages: district, provincial, and national.

The judge argued that many candidates were unfamiliar with each other, making the two A4 pieces of paper impractical. Additionally, the public would lack information about the candidates.

The judge recommended removing the phrases ‘no more than two A4 pieces of paper ‘ and ‘being introduced among themselves and not to the public’ from the regulation, deeming them contrary to the law.

Regulation No. 11(2), which prevents candidates from the media and advertising professions from using their careers to introduce themselves, was also criticised as discriminatory. The judge noted that candidates from other professional groups can leverage their careers to benefit their Senate campaigns.

The judge suggested that the restrictions were unfair and should be removed to ensure a level playing field for all candidates.

The court will continue to deliberate on the matter, taking into account the judge’s recommendations and the arguments presented by both sides, reported Bangkok Post.

The story Court shakes up Senate race: Judge advises removal of EC regs as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Mitch Connor