24 hour alcohol ban for provincial elections part of a “ridiculous war on alcohol”

The sale and distribution of alcohol in Thailand, even parties serving alcohol, are banned from Saturday 6pm to Sunday 6pm, all in aid of the Provincial Administration Organisation elections. Unless you’re Thai, you don’t need to worry about the voting although the alcohol ban will affect everyone who lives in the Kingdom.

Having a party or a wedding on the day? No problem, as long as there’s no alcohol. Violators of the ban could end up in jail for 6 months, and/or fined 10,000 baht.

The announcement of the timing provides plenty of warning and time to stock up for the 24 hour ban if it’s going to impact you.Even though the ban has been standard practice for provincial elections, it seems to have caught many foreigners off guard who believe the ban shouldn’t apply to them.

The online response has been broadly critical of the government policy, particularly among the expat communities.

Paul said… “Just another example of people control…animal farm! Nothing less.”

Joe hit a more sarcastic tone… “Poor farang will die of thirst now.”

Chris had it already worked out… “Pathetic, just buy your booze 5 minutes before cut off and consume it anywhere you like for the next 24 hrs, so long as it not in a bar, Ting Tong Thailand.”

Joan lamented her bad timing… “My luck. That’s the day I come out of quarantine.”

Gary brought the ban on advertising of alcohol on social media into the issue… “Oh no I have just seen the picture of beer labels. I am now corrupted and drinking heavily.”

D.R. just wasn’t happy… “What the #### is having a beer got to do with putting an X on a ballot paper?”

Mark went all ‘conspiracy’… “They timed the election just to ruin Christmas.”

Y.A. saw the issue as part of the government’s… “ridiculous war on alcohol”…. “Farang can’t vote and should be exempted from this foolishness”.

Exactly why there is a ban on alcohol on provincial Election Day hasn’t been adequately explained by Thai officials but follows a generally risk-averse culture towards alcohol even though it’s generally, freely available. There has recently been a new ban on the sales and promotion of alcohol online which adds to an already broader ban on media advertising of alcoholic beverages in Thailand.

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