Thailand's top judges seek solution

Thailand's top judges met Friday to determine whether recent elections were valid after the nation's much revered king ordered the highest courts to resolve the country's deepening political crisis.

Judges of the top three judicial bodies, the Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional courts, were reportedly divided over whether the April 2 snap polls and two subsequent rounds should be nullified, the Nation newspaper reported.

There was no indication of how long the justices would deliberate.

The meeting was prompted by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who made a rare televised appearance Tuesday, calling Thailand's current political situation "a mess" and telling the courts to find a solution.

Political observers said the king's unusually blunt remarks, in which he called the elections "undemocratic," appeared to pave the way for the election to be nullified.

Following months of street protests against then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, accused of corruption and power abuse, Thailand has held three elections this month.

Still, there is no prospect of a new government being formed because the polls failed to fill all the seats of Parliament, mostly because of an opposition boycott. Thai law requires that all 500 seats be filled before the chamber can convene.

The king criticized the recent balloting, in which the ruling Thai Rak Thai party ran unopposed in many constituencies because of the boycott, as undemocratic.

Ahead of their Friday meeting, the top three justices held separate internal meetings Thursday to determine their positions.

The main question to be put before the panel was whether the polls were carried out with "honesty and justice and in accordance with the law and the constitution" said Virat Chinvinitkul, secretary of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court feels that the elections were "not legitimate and not carried out honestly," said Virat, adding that it would seek to convince the other two courts of its position Friday, reports the AP.

I.L.