Police report 38 election violations across Thailand

Photo via BangkokBizNews

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) reported 38 violations of election regulations across Thailand yesterday with a record high of 75% of the eligible population, or over 39 million people, exercising their right to vote.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Nitthitorn Jintakanon – Director of the Security and Public Order of Election Management Centre – reported that violations included 26 cases of people tearing up their ballot papers, four cases of voters taking a photo of their ballot papers, one case of a voter removing their ballot paper from the polling station, and seven cases of people selling or distributing alcohol in the prohibited time, reports BangkokBizNews.

Police reported eight cases of vote buying in the run-up to the elections, four of whom have already been prosecuted and four are still under investigation. Aside from this, more than 1,000 campaign signs were destroyed before election day, said Pol. Lt. Gen. Nitthitorn.

The director said…

“Most cases of people tearing up ballot papers – more than 90% – were older people. Some were Alzheimer’s patients, some were drunk, and some cases were accidental.

“In some cases, the voter crossed the wrong box and tore up the ballot paper, and asked for a new one, which is not allowed. Police are still investigating but have not found anything to suggest these actions were politically motivated.”

Police said they were investigating more potential violations of election regulations the public had sent to corruption-ouster and anti-cannabis campaigner Chuwit Kamolwisit by assigning local police to figure out the facts.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Nittitorn said the police’s work around the election is not done yet. Police will be on high alert since Thailand has a history of shootings after elections, especially in four “high competition” provinces – Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, and Ratchaburi. Another 20 provinces are considered at “high risk” and must be monitored, said the policeman.

Representing a huge shift in the population’s political stance, the youth-led Move Forward Party (MFP) – in favour of radical reform of the country’s institutions – took a stunning lead in yesterday’s polls.

MFP won the imagination of young and old voters alike with their plans to amend Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws that punish those who insult the monarchy with a jail term of up to 15 years.

Academics predict that the MFP will likely form a coalition government with the Phue Thai Party and other smaller parties after winning 151 of the 500 seats in the lower house – 10 seats ahead of the Phue Thai Party, led by the daughter of former ousted Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra, Paethongtarn.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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