In Organic Law on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators, 2008, under Chapter 5- proceedings for an election not conducted in an honest and fair manner, Section 106 empowers police officers to make an arrest and promptly institute legal proceedings, as well as notify the provincial ECT in order to report to the national level.[i]
According to Organic Act on Election of the House of Representatives 2011, Chapter 4 stipulates that the Police Commander should assign at least 1 security officer in all polling stations and counting place for advanced voting. The police department may require security personals from the Department of Local Administration to provide security personals which could be recruited from the Territorial Defense Volunteer Corps Administration Bureau, subdistrict headmen, village headmen, village headman assistants or army force in the areas. Then the Police Commander should submit the names of security personals to district election committees or provincial ECT at least 20 days before Polling Day, or at least 10 days in case that security personals in central polling station in each constituency announces so.
In general, the security arrangement is divided into 3 main periods:
Pre-election period, the center for electoral security center would be set up for countrywide communication operation, the police personals receive information of electoral arrangement from Provincial ECT, and providing security during various electoral events such as campaigning, candidate registration, advanced voting, as well as at Provincial ECT offices, and stationing at police stations. The joint operation between police and army personals can be seen in sensitive areas.
During election period, the security is provided during the transport of electoral materials, at polling stations (2 officers at each polling place or 6 in sensitive areas).
In post-election period, the security arrangement will continue, as to secure the situation, providing security to elected candidates, and investigating electoral-related violent cases.
The security personals shall perform the task until after the poll results have been submitted to the election commission at the constituency level.[ii]
However, since 2011 elections, military and security force was heavily scrutinized. The military operated anti-drug effort around the time of campaign and created controversy and complaints that the military’s actions were part of a political effort designed to intimidate certain party’s supporters rather than once focused on drug eradication. It has let to fears that the military was still playing a political role in the country[iii].
[iii] ANFREL, Thailand General Election 3rd July 2011 Report of the International Election Observation Mission, 2011, p. 68