Wednesday, August 29, 2007

EU Can Watch

The EU can watch but DON'T TOUCH!!

Thailand puts conditions on EU poll observers

Thailand has agreed to allow the European Union to observe its general election scheduled on December 23 but has refused to sign a memorandum of understanding on the diplomatically sensitive issue, officials said Wednesday.

Election Commissioner Apichart Sukhagganond agreed Tuesday to allow EU representatives to observe the December 23 polls but said signing a MOU on the matter would be tantamount to ceding over the country's sovereignty.

"This could set a precedent for other countries to ask for the same thing," said Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charunvat. "And it's not like this is the first election we have held. I think we are quite experienced because we hold many elections."

The EU's ambassador to Thailand, Friedrich Hamburger, will meet with the Election Commission on September 7 to discuss the terms and conditions for setting up a polls monitoring mission with or without a MOU, sources said.

"We can't just turn up at the airport and start doing it," said an EU official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The EU has sent missions to monitor elections in Cambodia and Indonesia but this will be the first time it has done so in Thailand.

The EU has asked permission to observe Thailand's next election to assure the international community that the polls are conducted freely and fairly despite Thailand's current political circumstances.

Thailand has been under a non-elected government since September 19, 2006, after the military staged a coup to oust former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his cabinet.

The EU was critical of the coup and called on Thailand to hold an election to restore democracy as soon as possible.

The junta that staged the coup promised to return power to the people within a year, and on Monday set an election date for December 23.

Yes the EU, those champions of freedom and democracy. Of course they'd never use force to take power. They do it the sneaky way.