Monday, June 4, 2012

PAO term ends

In last week's posting on the recent Provincial Administrative Organization elections, I mentioned that I lost the overview on which provinces will have their election at which date this year, and for which provinces the PAO chairman election is at a different date than the council election already. But while I was trying to compile all the data from those elections which just happened and place them into my XML files, I found a very interesting document on the website of the Election Commission in Chiang Rai.

Titled "Information on local administrations throughout the country which have end of term in 2012" (ข้อมูลองค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นทั่วประเทศที่ครบวาระ ปี พ.ศ.2555), these two PDF contain a list of all the local administrations which have either (or both) their council or their mayor end the four year term and thus need to have elections within 45 days after the end of term. Sadly, it is a scanned document, thus one has to copy all data manually - the original Excel file would be so much more useful, as there are 3235 local elections this year. The largest number will be 1669 TAO which end their term in August, several of those will get upgraded to municipalities, but most will have elections in September then.

But since I am focusing on the PAO now, I now have a complete list of which province have their terms end this year. All the data I have collected into one spreadsheet - the dates of term end and the 45 day deadline in which the election has to take place, and also the dates elections took place as far as I know yet. I will of course update the document whenever I get new data. Several interesting things show up with the term end dates. In 2004 and 2008, there were just two election dates for the councils (and one separate for Buriram), as the the elections were synchronized in 2004 with the third amendment of the PAO act [Gazette]. Thus I would have expected that there will be just three dates for the end of term of the PAO councils - but while most have May 19th, there are also some with May 25th and May 26th, and several more dates from May, June and July. Either I remember wrong and there were more than the three dates in 2004 already, or there were some provinces where the term did not start with the election date as it would normally. It gets even more complicate for the chairmen - even though in most provinces these were still held at the same time as the council elections in 2008, there are several where the term of the chairman now ends some weeks or months after the council, Nong Bua Lamphu, Sakon Nakhon, Lamphun and Phitsanulok. I suspect that in these provinces the chairman elections had to be repeated after the original winner received a yellow or red card.

I have also added a column to show the number of days between the actual election date and the term end. If everything goes according to the standard procedures, this must be a number between 1 and 45. Ignoring the negative numbers for some of the chairman elections - these are due to resignations shortly before their term end like those in Phuket and Buriram - there is already a 66 day difference in Surat Thani, the election is scheduled for June 24th, but the deadline was June 3rd. Also strange is Tak, where the election took place one day before the end of term.

The reason for the delayed election are the constituency boundaries, which were not updated by the provincial Election Commission in time. On the website of the Phra PAO I found a note that a total of 27 provinces got their election delayed, though no list of provinces was mentioned in that. But obviously Phrae is one of those 27, as the election should have been on last Sunday as latest possible date, but on May 31st there were still three possible suggestions for the new constituency boundaries. I really wonder why there has been such a delay, as the Election Commission knew before the date by which the constituencies must be defined to ensure an election within the 45 day range, it is the negligence of this office which leave the provinces without a legitimate council longer than necessary.

In summary, not just the chairmen election deviate more and more from the original synchronized dates, the council elections also spread over the whole year already.

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