EU calls for election irregularities to be “resolved swiftly and transparently”

Yesterday (25 March), Maja Kocijančič, the European Union Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, issued a statement on Thailand’s 2019 general election, which took place last Sunday, 24 March.

The statement says that :

Yesterday’s peaceful holding of the first fully-contested parliamentary elections in Thailand since 2011 constitutes an important step towards restoring a democratic form of governance. Thai citizens have participated in large numbers to this exercise, to shape the future of their country.

We look forward to the announcement of the election results as soon as possible. It is also important that any reported irregularities are resolved swiftly and transparently.

As the European Union, we look forward to the formation of a government that reflects the will of the electorate. We stand ready to work with the new government in order to build a deeper relationship with Thailand, to the benefit of our citizens.

The EU did not field an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to monitor the 2019 general election, since it did not receive an official invitation in time. In its press release on 22 March, the EU said that

EU election observation requires a long-term, country-wide presence of an independent EOM which conducts its activities according to a comprehensive methodology in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. This requires an official invitation from the host country and a lead-in time of four to six months in order to prepare the mission, including the deployment of long-term observers. In the case of the Thai general elections, the EU did not receive such an invitation in the required timeframe.

However, while it did not field an EOM, staff members from the EU delegation, along with diplomatic missions of some EU member states, participated in a “diplomatic watch”, which entailed a visit of accredited persons to polling stations on election day. The EU press release said that “such activities are necessarily small both in numbers and geographic scope and therefore do not constitute an "election observation". They are not sufficient for formulating an overall assessment of the electoral process and cannot form the basis of any public statement.”

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