By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY — An electoral watchdog in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) was selected as one of the observers in Thailand’s general assembly elections set on December 23 this year.
It was the Asian Network for Free Elections (Anfrel), established in 1997 as Asia’s first regional network of civil society organizations, that sent the invitation to the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Reforms (C-Care), a poll watchdog in the Armm that was organized two years ago.
The Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) will administer the general elections — the first after the military overthrew the 1997 Constitution of Thailand.
There are about 32 observers from different Asian countries, including C-Care chairman Salic Ibrahim, to be deployed in 16 provinces of Thailand.
“Their mission is to observe and monitor the conduct of the general elections and report to Anfrel,” according to Somsri Hananuntasuk, coordinator of Anfrel.
The mission will last for 20 days, which starts December 7 up to December 26.
The Anfrel has decided to have 32 observers from Asian countries deployed to Thailand’s 16 provinces.
The local host will be Poll Watch Foundation and People’s Network for Elections in Thailand. The Anfrel strives to promote and support democratization at national and regional levels in Asia.
The C-Care is a coalition of people’s organizations, non-government organizations, sectoral organizations, and electoral reform advocates organized in June 2005 and became an accredited citizen’s arm of the Commission on Elections since August 8, 2005 Armm elections.
Since then, it has served as poll watchdog in the Armm during the May 14, 2007 synchronized national and local elections and October 29, 2007 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Meanwhile, the Anfrel, since it was founded, has served towards strengthening the democratization of countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor, and Indonesia.
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