Election scandal shocker: Senate results halted amid fraud claims

Photo courtesy of The Nation

The Election Commission (EC) delayed endorsing the 200 senatorial election winners due to a flurry of electoral fraud complaints, as announced by the chief commissioner. The eagerly awaited results, originally set to be revealed today, July 3, have now been postponed indefinitely, leaving the nation in suspense.

EC Chairman Ittiporn Boonprakong stated that the process is not yet complete, offering no further details on the nature of the complaints or the specific issues delaying the announcement. The final round of voting took place last Wednesday, June 26, and although ballot counting was swiftly completed, allegations of voting collusion quickly surfaced.

Several groups of unsuccessful candidates have lodged complaints, urging the EC to investigate potential collusion and demanding a recount. These grievances have thrown a wrench into the announcement process, as the EC must now meticulously review each allegation, said Ittiporn.

“The EC has to check the complaints first.”

Ittiporn underscored the importance of a thorough investigation. However, when pressed about a potential timeline for the official results, he remained evasive, sidestepping questions about whether the results could be announced next week, reported The Nation.

ORIGINAL STORY: EC clarifies Senate candidacy rules amid fraud allegations

The Election Commission (EC) has clarified that registering in incorrect professional groups is not necessarily an offence unless there is an intent to deceive officials and the public during the Senate election. This statement was made by EC Secretary-General Sawaeng Boonmee on Facebook yesterday.

The EC has faced significant scrutiny following the conclusion of the national Senate contest in Bangkok yesterday. Allegations of vote-rigging and improper candidacy registrations have led the EC to initiate an investigation.

Sawaeng explained that the right to participate in a Senate election is distinct from submitting an application form, known as the Sor Wor 3 form, which may contain false information. He referenced a Supreme Court precedent to support this point.

For instance, if a candidate’s Sor Wor 3 form claims they are a salt farmer, but an investigation later reveals this to be false, the candidate would face criminal charges for providing false information. However, this does not affect their right to run in the Senate election, according to the EC secretary-general.

The EC is currently reviewing complaints against 48,226 candidates accused of submitting false information in their registration documents. If these complaints are found to be valid, the candidates will face charges for violating Senate election law.

Additionally, the EC is investigating reports that some candidates were hired to participate in the Senate race, with the aim of diverting their votes to other candidates supported by political groups.

Senate election

Jaturun Boonbenjarat, Secretary-General of the Clean Politics group, announced plans to seek an urgent injunction from the Supreme Administrative Court to halt the planned announcement of the Senate election result on July 2. The injunction would be in place while the court reviews his request to rule on alleged irregularities in the Senate polls.

Jaturun stated that he is exercising his right as a Senate poll candidate to prevent political elements from dominating the upper House.

“This (Senate poll) could well go down in history as another chapter in dirty politics.”

Jaturun accused political elements of manipulating the vote and claimed that some candidates had registered in professional groups for which they were not qualified. He urged the EC to investigate the connections between certain candidates and political parties and to determine why some candidates registered in incorrect professional groups, reported Bangkok Post.

“For starters, the EC should look through the bank accounts that might reveal unusual financial transactions during the Senate election.”

Jaturun also commented that some Senate race winners lacked the maturity and professional experience necessary to serve effectively as senators. He warned that if political parties can control the Senate, its ability to scrutinise legislation and maintain accountability would be severely compromised.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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