BANGKOK, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Voting for the Feb. 2 general election in several southern Thai provinces is facing numerous barriers as anti-government protesters are blocking the delivery of ballot papers to polling stations.
Protesters have blocked the post offices in some areas, affecting the ballots delivery to Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Krabi, Trang, Songkhla, Phuket and Phatthalung, the Nation newspaper reported Saturday.
Election Commission (EC) said Friday that ballot papers for party-list votes are yet to be sent to three southern provinces, adding that voters in 14 southern provinces might only have ballot papers to vote for constituency candidate.
The general election requires voting of two kinds of ballots, including one for party-list candidate and one for constituency candidate. Thai Constitution also states an election needs to be held on the same day across the nation. However, there are no candidates for 28 constituencies in eight southern provinces, which are mostly strongholds of the Democrat Party, who has boycotted the Feb. 2 election.
EC Chairman Supachai Somcharoen said if voters fail to cast their vote due to the lack of ballot papers, the EC would talk with legal experts to ask the Constitutional Court to decide the validity of the Feb. 2 election.
Caretaker Labor Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is also director of the Center for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), said clashes between protesters and pro-government supporters are expected to occur during the election, especially in the deep South due to the ballot delivery blockade.
Chalerm asked the Democrat Party to be held responsible for election disruption in the region.
Meanwhile, anti-government protesters have prevented the ballot delivery to Lak Si in Bangkok.
The EC on Friday also said the country is facing a shortage of 40,000 polling staffs nationwide, especially in southern areas. Some 90 percent of polling stations in the south have reported staff insufficiency.
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