Bangkok Post – Aspiring senators ask court to relax EC rules on publicity

Four prospective candidates for the new 200-member Senate on Tuesday petitioned the Administrative Court to rule against the Election Commission’s (EC) regulations restricting all candidates’ use of social media and mass media to introduce themselves to the public.

They said the restrictions are in breach of their right to freedom of expression.

The four are Panat Tasneeyanond, who is a law academic; Pairoj Boonsirikamchai, a doctor of medicine; Cholanat Klinsuwan, a TV host; and Sirisak Ittipholpanich, a singer.

They are petitioning against EC regulations 5, 7, 8, 11(2) and 11(5) which took effect on April 27 and have deterred many candidates from expressing their opinions in public or giving interviews to reporters.

Regulation No 7, for example, allows candidates to introduce themselves only by using an A4-sized poster which is intended only for their fellow candidates and strictly prohibited from being made public, the four petitioners said.

Regulation No 11 prohibits them from giving media interviews.

Candidate applications for the Senate open on May 13 with elections at district, provincial and national levels to be held on June 9, June 16 and June 26, respectively. The results will be announced on July 2.

In their joint petition, the four candidates also requested an injunction temporarily suspending these EC regulations until the court hands down a ruling.

Under the 2017 charter, the new Senate will comprise 200 members but will not be directly elected by the public. The applicants will vote among themselves.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, chairman of the Progressive Movement, on Tuesday accused the EC of depriving members of the public of their right to know what is going on in the election of the Senate by keeping it as exclusive as possible.

He was responding to the EC’s decision to shut down a website Mr Thanathorn’s political movement had  set up as part of its nationwide campaign for his supporters and supporters of the Move Forward Party (MFP) to contest the election.

The website,, was viewed by the EC as an attempt to manipulate the results of the senate election in favour of a certain side and was shut down on Friday.

Mr Thanathorn accused the EC of attempting to keep the rest of society away from what is going on in the senate election because “some people in power” wanted this election to be over with quietly, as was the case in previous senate elections, he said.

As a result, only those with close connections to the political parties in power would be elected to the Upper House, again, he said.

His movement was not aimed at getting people linked to the MFP elected as senators, but to ensure fairness in the election, Mr Thanathorn said.

Sonthiya Sawasdee, a former adviser to the House committee on legal affairs, had on the same day petitioned the EC to look into what roles Mr Thanathorn and Pannika Wanich, spokeswoman for the same movement, had in launching the nationwide political campaign despite having been banned from politics following the dissolution of the Future Forward Party (FFP), the precursor of the MFP.

SOURCE: : Thailand   (go to source)
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