Election billboards for Anutin may be illegal

PHOTO: Billboards for Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul may be violating election law. (via Thai Newsroom)

The Rural Doctor Society raised concerns over the possible violation of election laws by 11,000 roadside billboards featuring Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The society posted on its Facebook page calling on the Election Commission (EC) to investigate the matter.

The billboards are located outside provincial, district, subdistrict and community-level hospitals under the care of the Ministry of Public Health and are supposed to promote the plan that 2023 is the year of elderly healthcare.

But that message may be lost to the giant image of Anutin that is far more prominent than the message of the billboard.

The Rural Doctor Society has expressed its concern that these billboards, each costing around 2,000 baht of taxpayers’ money, may primarily serve the political interests of Anutin, who is running as a Bhumjaithai Party candidate for prime minister in the upcoming general election. According to the EC, the use of government funds, property, and personnel during the 180 days leading up to the election is prohibited.

Related news

Anutin has been at the centre of controversy lately, particularly regarding the transfer of the head of the Rural Doctor Society, Supat Hasuwannakit, from one hospital to another against his will. Supat had been critical of the free-marijuana policy launched by the Bhumjaithai Party’s coalition partner.

This is not the first time powerful politicians have pushed the legal limits using billboards. Last September, at the beginning of election season, billboards began appearing in the northeastern province of Bueng Kan, promoting former caretaker Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

One was even posted with a note attached asking authorities to go easy on them for erecting the billboard, possibly skirting payment and regulations. Though they were claimed to be promoting local projects Prawit had worked on, many were cynical that the touting of last-minute projects such as distributing welfare cards for up to 20 million poor people is essentially an attempt at buying votes.

Politics NewsThailand Election NewsThailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Related Articles