The highest level of Election Commission of Thailand is entrusted with responsibilities in the settlement of disputes and conflicts arising from the election process. With convincing evidence of a violation or irregularities, the ECT has the power to disqualify candidates and political parties, to cancel the results, to dismiss elected candidates, to revoke election rights of any person on the grounds of election fraud and to order a new election in any or all polling stations.
In practice, when an accusation is made against a candidate, the ECT reviews the allegations and determines the level of severity of the violation(s) levied against them. There are two levels of severity and thus two levels of punishment: Red Cards, and Yellow Cards, with the former being the more serious of the two. Once the Yellow Card is given, it means there will be a by-election in the constituency. Yellow Card recipients are allowed to compete again, but Red Card recipients are barred from running for office for a period of one year and are also subject to criminal charges.
One of the most powerful mandate which is stipulated in the Organic Act on Election of Members of the House of Representatives and Installation of Senators, Section 103 allows ECT to file a motion with the Constitutional Court in order to dissolve political party in case that the leader or a member of the Executive Committee of the party violates electoral rules. The order of dissolution of the political party also includes derogating the rights of candidacy of the leader and members of the Executive Committee of such political party for 5 years . In 2007, 4 political parties were dissolved because of vote buying. One party got their 111 party committees banned from politics for 5 years, while other 3 parties got their 109 members banned also for 5 years.
Organic Act on Election of Members of the House of Representatives and Installation of Senators B.E. 2550 (2008)
Section 111 After the announcement of the result of election, if there appears convincing evidence that an election in any constituency was not conducted in an honest and fair manner or that any Member of the House of Representatives or candidate acted dishonestly in order to be elected or was elected dishonestly as a result of an act of any person or political party which violates this Organic Act, a Regulation or a Notification of the Election Commission or the Organic Act on Political Parties, the Election Commission shall file a motion with the Supreme Court for consideration. In the case where the investigation by the Supreme Court reveals convincing evidence that the petition of the Election Commission is justified, the Supreme Court shall order a new election or the derogation of the right of candidacy of such Member of the House of Representatives or candidate for a prescribed period of five years and thereafter notify the President of the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister.
In the case where the Supreme Court has received the petition under paragraph one, such Member of the House of Representatives shall cease his or her performance of duties until the Supreme Court orders the dismissal of such petition and if the Supreme Court orders a new election or the derogation of the right of candidacy of Member of the House of Representatives, the membership of the House of Representatives of such Member of the House of Representatives shall terminate.
Section 114 A voter, candidate or political party having candidate or candidates standing for an election in a constituency shall have the right to petition the Election Commission for the reason that the election in such constituency has not been fair or legal.
The person under paragraph one may petition before the day of the announcement of the results of election or within thirty days as from that day save the petition according to the reasons under Section 50 or Section 52 which shall be made within one hundred and eighty days as from the day of the announcement of the results thereof.
When the Election Commission has received the petition, it shall promptly conduct a factual investigation and inquiry.
Section 115 In the case where the petition is filed prior to the day of the announcement of the results of election, the provisions of Section 103, Section 104, Section 105, Section 106, Section 107 , Section 108, Section 109, Section 110, Section 112, Section 113 shall apply.
Section 116 In the case where the petition is filed prior to the day of the announcement of the results of election but the findings are concluded after that day or where the petition is filed after that day and the findings reveal convincing evidence that the election was not fair or legal and the Election Commission is of the opinion that there should be a new election in a constituency or the disfranchisement of any Member of the House of Representatives should be ordered, the provisions of Section 111 shall apply.
In the case where the findings reveal that an election in a polling station or constituency was conducted in an unfair or illegal manner but the Election Commission is of the opinion that there is no ground to call for a new election as it will not affect the results of the election already held, the Election Commission may order the dismissal.
The decision of the Election Commission under this Section shall be final.