BANGKOK, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Thai Constitutional Court on Friday annulled the Feb. 2 general election, leaving the Election Commission (EC) and caretaker government to decide on a new election date.
The court voted 6:3 to void the election, citing it failed to be held on a single day as the constitution stipulated.
On Feb. 2, voting was not held in 28 constituencies in eight southern provinces, where no candidates had been registered due to disruption from anti-government protesters.
As a result of the ruling, the EC that was earlier obliged to hold poll re-runs in these trouble-plagued constituencies will not have to do so but will instead organize a new election in all constituencies nationwide in a 60-day time from now in accordance with the constitution and electoral law.
The EC will hold meetings with the government and political parties to discuss the new election date, EC member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said.
Before the verdict was delivered, Somchai said that whatever the ruling was, it would not be able to end the current political impasse.
The pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, better known as "red shirts," is expected to oppose the verdict, Somchai said, adding protesters would not make it easy for a new election to take place anytime soon.
Red shirts on Friday announced to hold a major rally in Chonburi province, which is adjacent to the capital Bangkok, on Saturday to show support for the government.
Soon after the court verdict, caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng said on Facebook that a new election set for any given day will be meaningless, because it will be postponed one way or another indefinitely.
The verdict was to protect the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), Chaturon said, adding it would inflict great loss on the country.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva commented that his party might contest the new election if caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban eventually came to terms with each other. He did not elaborate, though.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has insisted on carrying out reform before election, saying protesters would try to make any new election void too.
Thailand's prolonged political tumult riddled with uncertainty has become increasingly nerve-racking to many in and outside the country. Their confidence in the country's economic prospects is being compromised consequently.
The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce has cut its projection of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for 2014 from the previous 4.5 percent to 2.5 percent, citing the ongoing political stalemate and unsuccessful general election.
A recent survey by the Office of Industrial Economics has found that if the political unrest drags on until the second quarter, exports in 2014 could drop by almost 14 percent.
If Thailand's political deadlock continues into the latter half of 2014, the Fitch Ratings may reassess its rating outlook for Thailand, Andrew Colquhoun, head of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings at Fitch, reportedly said.
Thai court nullifies Feb. 2 general election
BANGKOK, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Constitutional Court on Friday nullified the Feb. 2 general election. The court voted 6:3 to void the election on the ground that it failed to be held in a single day in accordance with the constitution. Full Story
Acting premier Yingluck says Thailand "inseparable"
BANGKOK, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Thailand is one inseparable nation state and the caretaker government does not support any bid to ever divide it, said acting premier Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday. Full Story
Thai electoral body to seek court ruling on new election decree
BANGKOK, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's Election Commission (EC) said Wednesday it will petition the Constitutional Court to rule whether the EC or the caretaker government has the power to issue a new royal decree for election re-runs in certain constituencies. Full Story