THALANG: Accusations of vote-buying in the presidential election in the Srisoonthorn Administration Organization (OrBorTor) council election on October 7 are being investigated, including a vote recount, after official complaints were filed with the Phuket Election Commission (PEC) on October 5.
Kraisri Kiewwan, chief administrator (Palad) of Srisoonthorn OrBorTor, told the Gazette that on October 5 a group of Srisoonthorn residents filed a complaint involving of alleged vote buying with the PEC in Phuket City.
“Then, on October 8, more than 100 people descended on the Srisoonthorn OrBorTor office to lodge two separate complaints stating that PEC officials had failed to act on voter concerns and that a recount must be carried out,” he said.
A fourth complaint was lodged on October 8 by a presidential candidate, who K. Kraisri said cannot be named for his own protection, The complaint alleged that many of the people who voted in the Srisoonthorn election did so illegally, he added.
“I was in charge of the official group who had to monitor the election. I worked with about 100 staff to control the proceedings at the OrBorTor office,” said K. Kraisri.
“At about midnight, I announced the result of the election to more than 100 people. Tamrong Tantiwiratkul was the winner with 3,733 votes, beating former president Taweesak Soderaksa, who won 2,435 votes. Many people were unhappy with the result,” he added.
“I met with the three leaders of the group on October 8 and they showed me files related to three accusations of wrongdoing during the election,” said K. Kraisri, who said he was unable to reveal further details about any of the cases.
“Later in the afternoon, the group met with Phuket Vice-Governor Tri Augkaradacha and Director of PEC Supap Akkam at the Srisoonthorn OrBorTor office. K. Supap promised the group that the PEC would investigate their complaints before passing the cases on to the Election Commission [EC] in Bangkok,” said K. Kraisri.
K. Supap said, “We received four complaints about the election and have been investigating those claims. So far we have sent the results of two of those investigation to the EC in Bangkok, while the other two cases are still being looked into locally.”
He added that any candidate found guilty of vote-buying or cheating may be disqualified from the election and unable to run next year, and could even face a jail sentence.
K. Kraisri added, “I think the group of protesters will get together again when the PEC formally announces the election results when the new president is installed on November 6.”
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