Vote-buying incidents highest in Bangkok during General Elections, says EC

The Election Commission (EC) reported that the majority of vote-buying incidents during yesterday’s elections took place in Bangkok, which boasts the highest number of constituencies among all provinces. Despite this, the EC noted that the overall number of poll-related violations was lower than in previous elections.

EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee disclosed that the commission received 163 complaints yesterday, with 58 concerning vote-buying, 55 involving fraud, and 17 about the abuse of power by state officials overseeing the elections. Vote-buying incidents were reported in various regions, although most occurred in Bangkok.

National police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas stated that over 150,000 officers were deployed to maintain peace and order at the 94,737 polling stations countrywide. In the past two to three days, a minimum of three individuals have been charged with vote-buying. Police are also investigating incidents of campaign banner vandalism.

Deputy national police chief and head of the Royal Thai Police’s election administrative centre, Roy Inkapairoj, explained that the majority of complaints received by the centre were related to the destruction of campaign banners. The centre’s spokesman, Nithithorn Chintakanon, added that over 1,000 candidates’ banners were vandalised during the campaigning period.

On the eve of the elections, there was a surge in vote-buying complaints in Kanchanaburi. In Ayutthaya, local law enforcement has gathered enough evidence to charge several individuals with vote-buying offences.

In related news, former politician and whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit claimed that in Ayutthaya, Chon Buri, Pathum Thani, Songkhla, and Yala, at least 100 individuals distributed 500 baht (approximately US$15) each to local villagers in exchange for their votes. The evidence supporting his allegations remains unspecified.

Meanwhile, academics are predicting that the Move Forward Party (MFP) is likely to form a government coalition with the Pheu Thai Party and other smaller parties following yesterday’s Thai election.

As the counting continued, MFP led in both the constituency and party-list races, followed by Pheu Thai and Bhumjaithai. According to the EC, unofficial results were expected later that evening.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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