Campaign to impeach ECT continues

Yesterday (5 April), the People’s Coalition for a Fair Election made a statement on the campaign to impeach the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) at a demonstration in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The petition now has over 7,200 signatures.

At 16.28, the People’s Coalition for a Fair Election, led by activists Siravith Seritiwat and Tanawat Wongchai, set up a table in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) for people to sign the petition to impeach the ECT.

Siravith said that more than 7,200 people have signed the petition, while the online campaign on Change.org has about 850,00 signatures.

The 2017 Constitution does not specify the minimum number of signatures needed for an impeachment petition, so the Coalition will submit the petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and will attach the online campaign as supporting evidence. However, this petition has not been combined with the petitions started by other activist groups, such as those led by Anurak “Ford” Jeantawanich and Srisuwan Janya.

Student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal also joined the demonstration and brought the signatures on his own petition to be combined with the Coalition’s.

At 17.38, Siravith made a statement saying that, following the campaign to impeach the ECT, which started on 27 March, the group has started both an online petition on Change.org, and organized campaigning activities in universities and other places. However, Thai law does not recognize an online petition, so the group started an off-line petition, which is to be submitted to the NACC. Under the current constitution, Section 234 Clause 1 allows the submission of such a petition. If the NACC accepts the petition and files a charge with the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court accepts it, the ECT will be suspended.

The petition now has around 7,234 signatures, but there are also documents arriving by post, and the number will most likely be finalized next week.

Student activist Tanawat Wongchai also called out several universities for attempting to bar students from campaigning on campus. At Suan Dusit University, for example, a lecturer prohibited students from campaigning, forcing them to move off-campus. University officials even told printing shops around the university not to photocopy documents for students signing the petition.

Within the past week, students have campaigned in at least 19 universities across the country, including Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, Khon Khaen University, Maejo University, Burapha University, Prince of Songkla University, Phayao University, Ubon Ratchathani University, Maha Sarakham University, Naresuan University, Kasetsart University, Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University, Suan Dusit University, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Phetchabun Rajabhat University, Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Silpakorn University, and Walailak University.

The campaigners are also concerned that the Samsen Post Office will check the information of people who signed the petition, so they will be asking the relevant post office personnel to clarify the issue.

Meanwhile, at Kasetsart University’s Sakon Nakhon campus, students have started the #save38millionvotes (#save38ล้านเสียง) campaign to protest against the ECT’s actions during and after the election. The campaigners said that they would like to call for the authorities to respect the people’s rights and their 38 million votes and for transparency in the election process.

The group has also written an open letter to Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, calling for him to take responsibility for the ECT’s suspicious actions and for statements by Gen Apirat Kongsompong, the Army Commander-in-Chief, which could lead to violence. They are also calling for the ECT to announce the party-list MPs and for the ECT to approve the election results so that there can be a new government and parliament can be opened, and for the Army Commander-in-Chief and the Supreme Commander, along with other army commanders, to stop expressing political opinions.