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Thai foreign ministry demands report on embassy guidelines for general election

The Thai embassy in Finland published election guidelines on its Facebook page for Thai voters living in Finland. The Thai foreign ministry has called for an explanation of the move.

Thaimaalaiset äänestävät parlamenttivaaleissa Bangkokissa.
Thai voters cast ballots in the country's last general election in 2014. Image: Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has called on his counterparts in Finland to furnish an explanation for election guidelines published on Facebook by the Thai embassy in Helsinki and directed at Thai nationals.

The case was first reported on Wednesday by Thai news outlets.

Sources said that in the now-deleted Facebook post, the embassy called on Thai citizens resident in Finland and Estonia to prepare the documents required for voting in Thai parliamentary elections due in November.

Persons eligible to vote were advised to ensure that the information in their identification documents and passports was up to date so that they could vote from abroad.

Foreign Minister Pramudwinai denied instructing the Helsinki embassy to issue the guidelines. According to Thai media outlets, the minister suspected that the advisory was erroneously published or that the embassy’s Facebook account had been hacked. Pramudwinai has reportedly called for an official report on the case.

So far, no official date has been set for the country’s parliamentary election. Thai Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha had previously said that the election would most likely be in November this year.

The last general election in Thailand took place in February 2014 and was overshadowed by political unrest. The election result was nullified on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The national army seized power in May of the same year and there has not been another general election since.

Edit: The story was updated on 11.1.2018 at 6.15pm to indicate that the election guidelines were published on Facebook by the Thai embassy in Helsinki and not the Finnish embassy in Thailand as previously reported.

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