The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) will begin deploying a team of election observers from countries across Asia and beyond. At a press conference held at 2:00pm on the 6th, ANFREL’s team explained the structure and methodology of its observation effort and detailed the areas where ANFREL had concerns about the upcoming General Elections in Thailand.
This is ANFREL’s 4th Election Observation Mission to Thailand. In 2007, observers highlighted their observation of vote buying by political parties, electoral violence, intimidation, and disputed impartiality of polling officials. Having those recent political developments in mind, ANFREL is concerned about the campaign strategies of political candidates, the improper use of money in politics, and possible violence. The group calls for the respect of the freedom of movement, assembly, and expression. Furthermore, the acceptance of democratically achieved election results by both political parties and voters will be of importance to ensure the integrity of the process. Observers wish to remind stakeholders of the code of conduct on campaigning and other electoral behavior that was endorsed by most political parties. They hope that all stakeholders will take their commitment seriously for the sake of a peaceful and credible election outcome.
In total, by Thailand’s Election Day on July 3rd, ANFREL will have a team of approximately 60 international election observers that will be deployed to observe in every province across the country. ANFREL has 24 long-term observers (LTOs) that have been in the country since June 3rd that will stay and observe in the provinces until a week after the election. These observers will be on the ground for over a month in order to observe a majority of the pre-election period as well as the counting and official reporting of the results after the election. In addition to the LTOs, ANFREL’s group of more than 30 short-term observers (STO) arrives on the 22nd of June and will begin their observation soon thereafter.
Finally, ANFREL is utilizing a team of 6 electoral experts that will be in the country to study the vital issues facing the country. These experts will add a depth of experience and knowledge in the field of democratic development that Thailand & ANFREL is fortunate to be able to rely upon.
ANFREL’s observers come from more than 20 countries and are experienced in the field of election observation and/or human rights. They hope to observe a genuine electoral process free from irregularities and fraud that will bring afore the will of the people. ANFREL believes that the presence of international observers can help to make the entire process more transparent and accessible to the public.