Thailand's electoral authorities said Monday they would welcome European Union observers at the July 3 polls, extending the invitation a bit belatedly.
"The Election Commission is ready to allow the international community, particularly the European Union, to come observe the election," chairman Apichart Sukhakanond said.
The invitation, coming less than a month before the polls, was deemed too late to prepare a full-scale EU election monitor team to come to Thailand, diplomatic sources said.
"These things have to be planned in advance," said one European diplomat who asked to remain anonymous. "The EU might be able to send some experts to monitor to the polls at this stage, but this is not what we'd call an election observation mission."
EU observation missions usually arrive in a country six months in advance of the polls, and can involve up to 120 people.