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Unhappy “buffaloes”

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Many candidates running for election are unhappy about posters depicting them as buffaloes, monitor lizards and dogs, but it is not clear what they can do about it 


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Unhappy “buffaloes”

In Thai society, calling a stranger a buffalo, a monitor lizard or a dog will definitely not be appreciated. It might even get you a punch in the nose or, more likely, a kick to the stomach.

It is not surprising, therefore, many of the political candidates now on the campaign trail are not happy about the posters put up by the People's Alliance for Democracy to promote its vote-no campaign. The posters depict animals dressed in suits and they are clearly meant to suggest that the politicians running for election are not worthy of a seat in parliament.

It is not clear, however, whether anything can be done about it and the PAD is threatening to sue anyone who tries.

PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan said the "vote no" placards belong to the Puea Fa Din Party.

The Election Commission had not ruled that they were in breach of the Election Act, he said.

"Therefore, nobody can issue an order for the removal of the placards. Anybody who removes them will be subject to legal action, taken by the Puea Fa Din Party," Mr Panthep said.

The Election Commission may break its silence shortly, however.

Election commissioner Prapun Naigowit said EC officials in Bangkok will examine the "vote no" animal placards and rule whether they contravene the Election Act.

Mr Praphan said his personal view was that the placards were inappropriate and should not be posted on the streets alongside other campaign placards posted by political parties or election candidates.

He said if any candidate felt the placards would mislead voters, or were defamatory, they could file a complaint with the EC.

Chaithanapon Srijiwangsa,  a New Aspiration Party candidate in Bangkok Constituency 1, has gone even further by filing a defamation complaint with the Crime Suppression Division against those involved in the posting of the animal placards.

He said the placards were defamatory because they depicted election candidates as bad people.
 
Adapted from an online story posted on the Bangkpost.com website.

stranger – a person that you do not know คนแปลกหน้า
monitor lizard – large reptiles with have long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs เหี้ย
appreciate – to be grateful for something, i.e., feeling you want to thank someone for something they have done for you สำนึกในบุญคุณ
punch – to hit somebody/something hard with your fist ชก
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
campaign trail – the events and activities that are part of an election campaign กิจกรรมในการรณรงค์หาสียง
People’s Alliance for Democracy – the union of several groups protesting against the past government and which staged large protests against the Thaksin government as well พันธมิตรประชาชนเพื่อประชาธิปไตย  
promote – to encourage or support something สนับสนุน
campaign – a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์
depict – to represent or show something in a picture or story พรรณนา, บรรยายให้เห็นภาพ
suggest – to show that something is possibly true ชวนคิด
worthy – deserving; having qualities that cause respect สมควร, น่ายกย่อง
threaten – to say you might or will do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something ขู่
sue – to take legal action against a person or organisation, especially by making a legal claim for money because of some harm that they have caused you ฟ้องร้อง
placard – a large written or printed notice that is put in a public place or carried on a stick in a march ป้ายประกาศ
Election Commission – the independent government agency that oversees elections คณะกรรมการเลือกตั้ง
rule – (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
breach – a failure to follow a law or rule การละเมิดกฎหมาย
Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
issue – to announce something officially ออกประกาศ
removal – taking something away การเอาออกจาก
subject to – affected by ภายใต้บังคับ (กฎหมาย)
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
silence – a situation in which somebody refuses to talk about something or to answer questions  การไม่พูด, ความเงียบ
rule – (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision ตัดสิน, พิพากษา, ชี้ขาด
contravene – to do something that is not allowed by a rule, law, or agreement ฝ่าฝืน
inappropriate – unsuitable ซึ่งไม่เหมาะสม
mislead – to make someone believe something that is incorrect or not true ชักนำไปในทางที่ผิด
defamation (adjective form: defamatory; verb form: defame) – the offence of writing or saying something bad about someone that is not true and makes people have a bad opinion of them การใส่ร้าย
file a complaint –to make an official statement that someone has done something wrong ยื่นคำร้อง
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
suppression – stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity  การปราบปราม

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