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Thailand Discusses Election Monitoring Proposal With EU


Thailand's military-installed government has agreed to consider a European Union offer to monitor upcoming parliamentary elections.

Thailand's election commission chairman, Apichart Sukhagganond, met Thursday with EU representatives Portuguese Ambassador Antonio Faria e Maya and EU Ambassador Friedrich Hamburger in Bangkok to discuss the proposal.

The EU says the observation mission would be neutral and not interfere with the electoral process.

Thai authorities are not opposed to the election observation mission in principle, but they are resisting an EU request to sign a memorandum of understanding.

Last week, several military-appointed officials voiced strong reservations to such an agreement, citing concerns that a memorandum is "controlling" in nature.

Other officials even suggested the election observation mission could be a plot by deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The EU has denied this accusation.

The December 23 elections will be the first since last year's bloodless military coup ousted Mr. Thaksin as prime minister.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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