Senate election to proceed despite 333 complaints, fraud concerns

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Despite the Election Commission (EC) fielding over 300 complaints, including 39 cases related to potential fraud, the Senate election results will proceed as scheduled.

EC Secretary-General Sawang Boonmee revealed that a total of 333 complaints have been lodged, with 90 involving accusations of corruption. Investigations into these complaints are expected to take significant time.

A large portion of the complaints concern candidates with dubious qualifications attempting to run in professional groups for which they do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Sawang stated that the EC has directed election officials and police to monitor for any activities that could be construed as election fraud ahead of tomorrow’s final round of voting.

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Notably, the law prohibits politicians or political parties from assisting senatorial candidates in any manner. However, Sawang acknowledged that political groups have attempted to meddle in the Senate election, which is challenging to prevent when their interests align with those of the candidates.

Candidates have the right to protest during the voting process and can petition the court post-election. Nevertheless, the EC secretary-general urged them not to disrupt or delay the Senate election.

Follow procedures

“The election officials must strictly follow the procedures and timeframe to minimise legal disputes that could nullify the result.”

A source close to the EC disclosed that the commission has identified four potential forms of irregularities ahead of the voting, where 3,000 candidates will vie for 200 upper-chamber seats.

The first irregularity involves candidates offering to sell their votes in exchange for a six-digit sum or a position on the new senator’s team.

The second irregularity pertains to political groups attempting to coerce candidates into joining their networks.

The third involves external parties booking hotel rooms for candidates to meet before election day to gauge vote counts. This group aims to sell their votes for a seven-digit sum.

The final irregularity concerns political officeholders approaching candidates to join the groups they support to secure election outcomes.

Nationwide prevalence

“These activities have all been reported in several areas, especially in the North. Investigators are collecting evidence of possible wrongdoing,” said the source.

Caretaker Senator Somchai Swangkarn commented that political parties from both the government and opposition are vying for control of the Senate by having their affiliates run in the election.

He noted that these parties seek to control the Senate to advance their political agendas, which include passing crucial bills such as the referendum amendment, the charter amendment, and amnesty for political offenders.

The EC’s efforts to ensure a fair and transparent election process are being closely watched, as the outcome of the Senate election will significantly influence Thailand’s legislative landscape, reported Bangkok Post.

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Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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