PHUKET: Allegations of cheating and vote-buying have delayed the official appointment of Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) executive committees in nine of the 12 tambon in Phuket where polling took place last month. An investigation is underway by the Phuket Election Committee, which will reveal details of the allegations only when it has completed the probe. It was, however, announced that complaints have come from a total of 14 villages. Kitipong Thiengkunagrit, Director of the PEC, told the Gazette that some candidates had complained about cheating and vote-buying. “If [candidates and their supporters] found problems, they should have spoken out during the vote-counting, not after we finished and tallied the votes,” K. Kittipong said. “Only the central Election Committee [in Bangkok] has the authority to order a re-count after we have closed the ballot boxes.” He added that in some areas where the contests were close, voters have asked for recounts, claiming that the vote counts were not fair and accurate. The committee is now looking for evidence to support the various claims. The three OrBorTor where polling went without a hitch – Karon, Koh Kaew and Cherng Talay – are proceeding with the election of presidents and deputies by the new members of the OrBorTor councils. Other OrBorTor groups are discussing whether they can proceed with voting in presidents if the election of more than half the new representatives has been approved by the central Election Committee. The villages where vote results are in dispute are Moo 5 and 7 in Chalong, Moo 2 and 5 in Rassada, Moo 4 and 5 in Rawai, Moo 1 in Wichit, Moo 6 in Kamala, Moo 2 and 8 in Thepkrasattri, Moo 2 in Mai Khao, Moo 3 and 6 in Sri Suntorn and Moo 5 in Sakoo. As part of OrBorTor polling nationwide, 59,374 of Phuket’s total of 94,704 registered voters turned out in 12 tambon on August 30 to elect 159 OrBorTor members from 378 candidates. Electors in the remaining tambon, Pa Khlok, will vote in June next year.
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