Google tapped as Election Commission denies helping PM

PHOTO: The Election Commission denies giving an advantage to PM Prayut, and have asked Google for help. (via Nation)

The Office of the Election Commission (EC) reached out to Google Thailand for support in the upcoming General Election, while they deny accusations of favouring Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. They asked the search engine tech giant to help raise awareness about the election and assist in cracking down on fake news.

On Monday, EC Secretary-General Sawaeng Boonmee met with a team from Google Thailand, led by their government affairs and public policy manager. During the meeting, the manager discussed ways in which Google could assist the EC in its election efforts.

Sawaeng expressed his confidence in the cooperation from Google, which he believes will help the election be more trustworthy and accepted by the public.

Meanwhile, the Commission is under fire, accused of giving an edge to PM Prayut with new rules. In accordance with two newly implemented laws, the EC needs at least 45 days to prepare for the General Election once the House term ends.

The EC tentatively set May 7 as Election Day, given that the House of Representatives completes its four-year term on March 22. Sawaeng denied any rumours that the 45-day preparation period was designed to benefit PM Prayut, whose political party, United Thai Nation Party, needs time to be ready for polling. He says the period is required by election law.

“People can say anything they like, but the EC works for Thailand.”

Sawaeng met with Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam to ensure that the election runs smoothly. Additionally, Sawaeng met with the Internet Law Reform Dialogue, a Thai human rights NGO advocating for democracy.

The EC called for a full meeting of the Election Committee yesterday afternoon to cover all aspects of the final election preparations. Sawaeng assured that the EC would make every effort to complete the process of defining the constituencies promptly and expressed confidence that all political parties would be ready before the registration period with their candidates prepared.

With all the government preparation, and with the possible help of Google Thailand, the EC hopes to be ready for free and fair elections this year.

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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.

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