Thailand's Senate met yesterday to choose new election commissioners, but its first move will almost certainly be to postpone an Oct. 15 poll intended to resolve an eight-month political crisis.
At the start of a special sitting of Thailand's upper house, Senator Wallop Tangkananurak said five commissioners should be chosen from a 10-strong shortlist by the end of the day.
However, the commissioners were unlikely to be able to start work before Sept. 15, one month before the scheduled general election meant to clear up the mess left by a boycott and annulled snap poll in April.
Their three sitting predecessors were jailed for overseeing the fiasco.
"They won't have enough time for election preparation and they will certainly ask to postpone the date, probably by a month," Wallop said.
The 187 senators were to vote for five commissioners from 10 candidates proposed to them by the Supreme Court last month, Senate President Suchon Chaleekrua said.
But despite the vote, he said the originally scheduled election date of Oct. 15 will have to be postponed given various legal procedures which still have to be cleared before ballots can be cast. Some have speculated that the poll may even be delayed until December.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra called the April election to counter mass street protests against him that started in January. However, the plan backfired when an opposition boycott rendered the result invalid.
Since then, the nation has been rudderless, with no functioning parliament and a caretaker government unable to make major policy decisions, causing economists to worry about the impact on long-term economic growth.
Fitch Ratings agency said this week the turmoil was having an impact on growth, although not yet on Thailand's credit rating.
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