THE European Union (EU) found time while congratulating itself over the success of
voter registration to formally sack - then reinstate - the man in charge of
the entire process.
Michael Meadowcroft, the technical head of the EU registration component, now remains
in EU employ. He would discuss neither the reasons for his sacking nor his subsequent
However, for at least four days - until getting a formal letter of reinstatement
on June 26 - Meadowcroft was fighting for his job as the head of registration. Ironically,
EU Ambassador Sven Linder was at the same time lauding the results of registration
as a "satisfactory foundation for free, fair and credible elections".
Meadowcroft was told by the EU that he had not followed correct procedures in the
process, according to a senior source within the EU. He was fired in writing, although
rumor of the purge had existed for some days before the letter was delivered.
Other sources say that Meadowcroft was a victim of internal EU politics, mainly because
he violated the EU's stringent control on contact with the press.
Sources inside the Ministry of Interior compound, where the National Election Committee
(NEC) and various other EU technicians work, held polar views of Meadowcroft's dismissal
"I'm not surprised. Michael Meadow-croft wasn't worried about [the] technical
constraints [of the] process," one foreign election worker said, adding that
Meadowcroft wasn't even worried at one point that the computer center might not be
able to enter in the voter rolls in time for double checking at polling stations.
"This guy is not an election technician. He was a politician who was hired because
he was a friend of Andrew Ellis [head of preparation for the EU election team]."
Other sources allege that Meadowcroft had previous run-ins with the Bangkok-based
Ambassador and Head of Delegation for the European Commission Michel Caillouet, First
Secretary Aldo Dell'Ariccia and other influential technocrats after he attempted
to hire his own consultancy company - which includes his wife - to work on the
The sources said he was also severely chastised after he spoke to the Post in March
about the technicalities of registration.
Meadowcroft's allies point out that the former British MP did exactly the job the
EU hired him for and later loudly trumpeted: completion of registration - at 90%
or higher penetration - on time and on budget.
If he had stuck strictly to the rules and not used his own judgment, registration
would neither have been done on time nor so successfully, his supporters say.
From Bangkok, Dell'Ariccia did not want to discuss the matter, saying "it is
nothing to do with the media".
Repeated questions about why Meadowcroft was initially sacked were greeted with "ask
your sources" and "I am very busy." He then hung up the phone.
An EU media spokeswoman at Bangkok headquarters, when asked to obtain comments from
Caillouet, said: "Jesus, you don't think that's a story do you?"
Replied the Post: "What? That the EU fired the man in charge of registration
just two days after saying how great the whole process was? Well yes. We do."
No comments from Caillouet were provided before press time.