The 2019 Thai general election is scheduled for the 24th of March.

There have been some mixed-messages regarding international observers overseeing the election process. Some examples:

In November 2018, Reuters wrote an article titled:

Thai junta says no need for foreign observers at next year's election

The Jakarta Post wrote in December 2018:

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai made news in early November when he announced that he saw no need for foreign observers to monitor the country’s general elections which are expected to take place between February and May of 2019.

“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,” Don told reporters at Government House, adding that the best observers would be the Thai voters themselves.

Contrary to those indications that foreign observers would not be allowed, Thai PBS wrote in December 2018:

The Election Commission has made clear it does not object to having international observers monitor the forthcoming election on February 24.

EC chairman Itthiporn Boonprakong said Wednesday that he had discussed the issue of international observers with the other six election commissioners and all agreed in principle that foreign observers are welcome as there is no reason not to continue the tradition of having foreign observers monitor elections here.

So, which is it? Is Thailand going to allow international observers for the 2019 election? I'm especially interested in court rulings or updated statements by officials (e.g. from the government or the electoral commission).


1 Answer 1


Yes, reporting by The Nation (Thai Newspaper) indicates a number of countries in the region and the International IDEA have been invited to observe. Quoting from the article:

The EC briefed representatives of election commissions from Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, East Timor, and Vietnam at the Rama Gardens Hotel at 9.45am. Representatives of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) also attended the session.

EC secretary general Jarungwit Phumma told the representatives that the EC welcomed them to observe the election on Sunday. Jarungwit said the EC allowed the representative to monitor the election to show that the polls would be transparent, clean and fair so that the international community would have confidence in the next government.

Notable absentee in the list above is the European Union. The EEAS has said in a press release that it does not plan an Election Observation Mission but intends to participate in a 'diplomatic watch':

This entails visits of accredited persons to polling stations on Election Day only in order to develop a general sense of the conduct of elections, to be used primarily for internal reporting. Such activities are necessarily small both in numbers and geographic scope and therefore do not constitute an "election observation". They are not sufficient for formulating an overall assessment of the electoral process and cannot form the basis of any public statement.

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