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Election

EC dogged by new controversy after poll re-run in Nakhon Pathom

The Thaiger & The Nation

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EC dogged by new controversy after poll re-run in Nakhon Pathom | The Thaiger

Five times they counted and five times they got different results. The re-run of the election and the counting of votes in Nakhon Pathom, west of Bangkok, couldn’t have gone worse for the Election Commission, coming under fire from all directions over irregularities, forced recounts and hundreds of small errors in the counting process.

The credibility has come under renewed scrutiny after it announced incorrect results for a recount in a Nakhon Pathom constituency. It was one of two poll re-runs after significant irregularities were found after the March 24 election.

Sunday’s mistake came to light when Future Forward candidate Savika Limpasuwanna, after trailing behind Democrat Sinthop Kaewpichit by 147 votes in the first count, was found to be ahead of him by 62 votes in the second tally.

The Democrats immediately protested the re-count of the re-count, arguing that total votes from over 240 polling stations in the constituency should have shown Sinthop winning by four votes.

The EC yesterday admitted the Democrats were correct, and reasoned that the mistake had been made because the announcement was “unofficial”. As of yesterday, the poll authority had yet to issue an official result.

The agency’s deputy secretary-general Sawang Boonmee says the recount process had yet to be completed, adding that the candidates had already been invited to witness its problems.

Initially, Sawang said the inconsistencies may have occurred from officials entering inaccurate numbers.

He later admitted that such repeated mistakes could shake the agency’s credibility, though he insisted that eventually, everything would be checked. He added that the ballots were stored safely in case a reason for rechecking or correcting the count arose.

However, the incident has further eroded public trust in the agency after a series of similar irregularities.

The public has been angered not only by the EC’s failure to provide a conclusive election result four weeks after voting, but also by mistakes that continue occurring, apparently due to poor administration.

The Future Forward Party yesterday demanded that a new election be held in the Nakhon Pathom constituency due to the confusion and inconsistency in vote counts.

Meanwhile, political observers said to avoid bankrupting its credibility altogether, the EC should release the election results from every polling station for public inspection including posting all results online.

Meanwhile, former EC commissioner Gothom Arya advised the agency to be humble, accept criticism and either improve or provide proper explanations. The most important thing about an election is accuracy, he said, adding that the wide-scale public doubt should be cleared with a recount of votes.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Election

Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises | The Thaiger

Amidst rumours circulating that the Palang Pracharat Party may renege on some of the promises it made to secure MP votes from the Democrats and Bhumjaithai, the Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanavisit says he believes the Palang Pracharat party will keep its promises.

Thepthai Senpong MP, a key Democrat party member, is warning that the coalition government will be in big trouble if the promise is broken. He says the coalition government would “function with great difficulty” if the Palang Pracharat party does not stick to the promises it made to the Democrats, according to Thai PBS.

Meanwhile, Somsak Thepsutin, one of the Sam Mitr faction within Palang Pracharat, says that if one of their group isn’t offered the agriculture minister’s post (reportedly offered to the Democrats as part of the ‘deal’), the promises they made with Thai voters during the election campaign could be affected.

Somsak has already spoken of his aspirations to become the next agriculture minister, despite the portfolio being used as a political football during negotiations with the Democrats.

But the new leader of the Democrats, Jurin Laksanavisit insists that the issue of the quota of ministries for his MPs has already been settled. He re-iterated yesterday that Palang Pracharat would not go back on its promises to the Democrats. He added that he had not been informed of any changes to their arrangements despite being aware of the media reports about the prevarication.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Nation

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Election

Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament | The Thaiger

Election – check. Vote for PM – check. New government sworn in – not quite yet.

There is still a reported back-room fight over cabinet portfolios between factions in the Palang Pracharat Party. Several key ministries were offered to Bhumjaithai and Democrat MPs in return for voting for Prayut Chan-o-cha as PM on Wednesday.

Now that Prayut’s been installed back behind the big desk at government house, there have been sources reporting wrangling and possible back-tracking over the promises made preceding the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

  • The Democrats were promised the agriculture, commerce and social development ministries while the Bhumjaithai were reportedly offered the Transport Ministry post.
  • Palang Pracharat MPs claim that, as the leading party in the coalition, it should control key ministries to follow through on its election promises.
  • PPRP list MP Somsak Thepsuthin, a leading figure of the “Sam Mitr” faction in Palang Pracharat, claims the party needs control of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and that PM Prayut will have a final say on the matter (a notion that was flatly denied by the PPRP last week).
  • Palang Pracharat MP Buddhipongse Punnakanta admits the quota of cabinet posts for coalition parties “might” change but didn’t detail any of the Cabinet position affected, including the position of agriculture minister.
  • Newly elected House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, a former Democrat PM, waded into the issue yesterday saying he was sure that Palang Pracharat would honour the promises made in regards to Cabinet posts offered to the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
  • Democrat leader Jurin Laksanavisit says the deal with the PPRP was singed and sealed and believes it would be honoured.
  • Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charvirakul says the agreement with the PPRP remains unchanged, and insisted the party will push for its election pledges to be implemented.
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Election

“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn

The Thaiger

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“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn | The Thaiger

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40 year old Future Forward leader who was up against Prayut Chan-o-cha for the position of PM yesterday, says that the pro-democracy alliance hasn’t conceded defeat but, he says, were “robbed of their victory”.

He is vowing to work harder outside parliament to prove that to the people.

“This election is just one battle in the long journey to achieve democracy. We fiercely believe that, in the end, our day will come. Dictatorship cannot resist the winds of change, the winds of democracy. The people will cry for freedom, cry for justice.”

Thanathorn was nominated by the Pheu Thai-led alliance as their sole PM candidate for yesterday’s vote, admitted that he had little hope that both the Democrat and the Bhumjaithai parties would make the “right decision”. Without their vote the Pheu Thai alliance wouldn’t have a majority in the lower house to make a stand (even though the Senate’s votes – 250 – would have carried Prayut Chan-o-cha over the finish line anyway). As it was he only missed winning the vote in the lower house by a handful of votes.

Thai PBS reports that, despite the election defeat, the firebrand young politician pleaded with all democracy advocates not to lose hope, but to move forward with him.

“I would like to tell my brothers and sisters that this is not our end, it is just the beginning,” he said, adding that the election result was a proof that they did not work hard enough and must strive harder.

“Future Forward party would divide its work and resources into three main areas; its MPs will undertake legislative work and check the performance of the government, the party will prepare for the forthcoming local elections and strengthen the party.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS

“We were robbed of victory” - Future Forward's Thanathorn | News by The Thaiger

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