DESPITE criticisms on its democratic practices, Thailand’s junta government says there is no need for foreign observers to monitor the general elections next year.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the presence of the foreigners was unnecessary as previous elections held in the kingdom were credible.
To have others observing, according to the minister, means the country is having a “problem”.
“Allowing foreign observers means we have problems, in their eyes or in our own view. It means we can’t take care of ourselves. And that’s inauspicious.”
“My question is whether the media wants our country to be viewed as problematic in the eyes of the international community. The fact is that we have no problems holding an election,” he said.
Critics and opposition politicians have made repeated calls for the government to allow foreign observers to monitor the election which is scheduled to be held on Feb 24.
Several foreign organisations have submitted the requests to the Election Commission to observe the national election but the foreign minister said other countries would already be doing so through their foreign missions in Thailand.
“We don’t need to rely on foreign countries for everything that we do. Having foreign intervention would mean we are still immature and undeveloped. We can do it ourselves and we have succeeded many times already,” he said.
Since ousting the democratically-elected Puea Thai Party in a 2014 coup, the military government has postponed holding elections numerous times.
The elections, expected to be held between February and May, would see a contest between the military and royalist establishment, and the populist Puea Thai Party.
“As the countdown for an election has begun, the Thai military government seems to care about seeking hand-shake and photo opportunities at major international events, but refuses to allow foreign allies to come and witness what is going on the country where the environment for a free and fair election does not exist,” Sunai Phasuk, senior Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
Last week, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the government would fully relax political restrictions to allow campaigning and gatherings on more than five people in December.
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