Skip to main content

Thai court declares February election invalid

By Kocha Olarn, Jethro Mullen and Susannah Cullinane, CNN
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1354 GMT (2154 HKT)
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban greets supporters during a march in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday, February 3. Anti-government protesters disrupted voting in roughly one-fifth of Thailand's electoral districts in national elections Sunday, February 2, authorities said. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban greets supporters during a march in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday, February 3. Anti-government protesters disrupted voting in roughly one-fifth of Thailand's electoral districts in national elections Sunday, February 2, authorities said.
HIDE CAPTION
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
Protests in Thailand's national election
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thailand's constitutional court has declared the country's February 2 election invalid
  • An opposition boycott and protests meant candidates were not fielded in all constituencies
  • The court said voting must take place across the country on the same day to be lawful
  • Its decision is final and no appeal can be filed, meaning new elections must be held

(CNN) -- Thailand's constitutional court has declared the country's February 2 general election invalid as it breached a law requiring that the polling process be completed on the same day nationwide.

The opposition's boycott of the vote and widespread anti-government protests meant that candidates were not fielded in 28 constituencies. It had been expected that voting would take place in those areas at a later date.

However, the court's six to three majority verdict cannot be appealed, meaning a new general election must be held across the South East Asian country.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called elections in December, in an attempt to end political unrest.

Amnesty bill

Yingluck is the sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and now lives in exile. Yingluck's critics accuse her of being a proxy for her brother, who was convicted of corruption charges in 2008 and sentenced to prison in absentia.

Yingluck's government was largely stable until her party attempted to pass a controversial amnesty bill in November, sparking a wave of protests. The bill would have nullified Thaksin's corruption conviction and allowed him to return to the country.

EXCLUSIVE: One-on-one with Thai PM
Life in Bangkok amidst political chaos
Protesters vow to continue to protest
Thai elections inconclusive

Anti-government protesters have been demanding that an unelected "people's council" be given the power to carry out political and electoral changes in a country where parties affiliated with Thaksin have dominated elections since 2001.

The main opposition Democrat Party boycotted the February 2 polls and protesters blocked officials from gathering ballots and obstructed voter registration in many constituencies.

That left the outcome of the election inconclusive, without enough results to reopen parliament, and with Yingluck in charge of a caretaker government.

Red shirt protest

More than 20 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since the protests erupted, with Yingluck's supporters -- the "red shirts" clashing with anti-government protesters.

The red shirts have announced they will hold a rally this weekend in Pattaya city, about 90 minutes from Bangkok. CNN's Kocha Olarn says the constitutional court's ruling will likely result in a huge turnout.

The conflict has deepened the country's political divide. The anti-government movement draws its support from southern Thailand, Bangkok's middle class and the established elites. Yingluck's base is in the less affluent but more populous regions north and east of the capital.

The Bangkok Post reported that the court hearing was held at the request of Thailand's Office of the Ombudsman. It followed the lodging of a complaint by a law lecturer who argued the February vote was unlawful, the paper said.

State of emergency

Earlier this week, the Thai government ended a 60-day state of emergency imposed on Bangkok and several surrounding areas in the run-up to the election.

The state of emergency had given authorities the power to impose curfews, detain suspects without court permission, censor media and declare parts of the capital off limits.

It has been replaced with the Internal Security Act (ISA), which will be in effect until April 30.

Read more: Thailand ends state of emergency

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Thailand coup
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 0437 GMT (1237 HKT)
Thailand's new military ruler has added a personal touch to the post-coup charm offensive, writing the lyrics to a pro-junta ballad.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
Pageant winner Weluree "Fai" Ditsayabut has relinquished her title under a barrage of criticism over her comments about red shirts.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
They may not be led by Katniss Everdeen, but Thai protesters have adopted one of her symbols. Jessica King reports.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 0729 GMT (1529 HKT)
The general who seized control of Thailand in a coup has announced he has received royal endorsement to run the country.
May 25, 2014 -- Updated 1901 GMT (0301 HKT)
Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is no longer in military custody, according to a highly placed source in the junta.
May 25, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
Photos of the demonstrations against military rule in Thailand.
May 24, 2014 -- Updated 2003 GMT (0403 HKT)
U.S. suspends $3.5 million in aid to Thailand after the military took charge of the country.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Thailand's military declared Thursday that it has taken control of the country in a coup. What does it mean? Here's our explainer.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
If you're planning on visiting the country, you should be aware of what's going on.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
The U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, reacts to the Thai military coup.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
The Thai military has censored TV and radio -- and social media could be next.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1802 GMT (0202 HKT)
Many people are going about their lives as normal -- some are even responding playfully.
One iReporter living in Bangkok says he is more worried about neighborhood snakes than the military coup.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 2148 GMT (0548 HKT)
Thailand's military chief announces coup in a televised national address.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
Thailand's army has declared martial law, but what does it mean for the country? Here's an explainer.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
CNN's Paula Hancocks reports on the mood in Bangkok after martial law was imposed by the military.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Nina Dos Santos talks with Hana Microelectronics CEO Richard Han about the current state of Thailand's economy.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 0721 GMT (1521 HKT)
Standard and Poor's may downgrade Thailand's credit rating should the political turmoil continue much longer.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1937 GMT (0337 HKT)
Thailand's Constitutional Court has dismissed PM Yingluck Shinawatra from office after finding her guilty of violating the country's constitution.
ADVERTISEMENT