Friday, February 29, 2008

Thai Elections - March 2, 2008

Tomorrow, Sunday, (it's Saturday afternoon in Chiang Mai as I write) is election day for the Thai Senate. I know an election is going on because of all the signs up and the election trucks. Plus where I work they are supporting one of the candidates and so there was election work going on and the truck have been at our compound. But I wasn't sure of the date.

Apparently, according to this Bangkok Post story not that many Thais really know that much about the election either.

There's a senate election?

By Mongkol Bangprapa

Despite campaigns by the Election Commission (EC), fewer than 30 per cent of Thais were able to tell a pollster that they know there is to be an election for 76 senators countrywide on March 2.

According to the latest Suan Dusit poll by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, of the 3,266 people surveyed, only 29 per cent could tell the interviewers how important the election is for the parliament, while 57 per cent said they had "scant knowledge" of it.

A surprising 12 per cent of respondents admitted they knew nothing of the coming election.

Most people surveyed admitted they were less aware of the senate election than they were of the Dec 23 election for House of Representatives.

There are 18 people running for the seat from Chiang Mai I was told - one seat per province - and the candidate my Thai colleagues are supporting is one of the candidates who has a chance to win. They think he needs at least 100,000 votes. This is for the Senate.

74 people have already been appointed to the Senate, according to MCOT English News. The rest get elected tomorrow.

Election Commission names 74 appointed senators

BANGKOK, Feb 19 (TNA) - Thailand's Election Commission on Tuesday announced the appointment of 74 members of the Senate who will represent half of the Upper House while the other half will be elected nationwide on March 2.

The 74 senators represent a ratio of 6 men to one woman. The oldest is 72 years old and the youngest 42.

EC secretary general Sutthiphon Thaweechaikarn said the appointed senators came from diverse backgrounds including academics (15), government officials (14), private sector (15), various professions (15) and other sectors (15).

They represent almost every field of career from university lecturer to former national legislator, lawyer, journalist, medical officer, nurse, engineer, architect, former provincial governor, farmer, university student, telecommunication specialist and financial expert.

Bangkokians dominate the list with 43 representatives while five are from the South, three from the North, two from the Northeast and 21 from the central region.

Asked if there has been behind-the-scenes lobbying for the seats, Mr. Sutthiphon affirmed that the screening committee has thoroughly and carefully studied the background of each appointee and the votings among committee members were carried out in an open manner.

The EC allows 30 days for anyone objecting to the appointment to file his/her complaint while those disagreeing with the screening committee's decision can file their complaints with the Supreme Court within one year.

The appointed senators will be in office for three years. The other 76 senators, one from each province, will be elected nationwide on March 2. They will serve for six years. (TNA)

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