Netizens urged to stop posts on poll eve

An election official has warned social network users to stop campaigning for candidates from the evening of March 2, the eve of the Bangkok governor election.

Pol Lt Gen Thaweesak Tuchinda, chief of the election committee in Bangkok, said content about the election could be posted online until 6pm on the day before polling. After that, such posts must stop until March 3 at midnight. Violators are liable to a jail term of 1-10 years and a fine of 20,000-200,000 baht.

The restriction does not apply to online interpersonal communications as long as they are not publicised later.

Pol Lt Gen Thaweesak also warned net users not to photograph their ballot papers once they have marked them at polling stations. Taking pictures of marked papers could lead to suspicions they had accepted a payment to vote, and were taking a picture to show as evidence.

Enthusiasts could take photographs only outside polling units, as they are not allowed to take photographs of the activity inside them.

If anyone wants to be photographed while holding up a ballot paper, the photograph must not show any mark on the ballot.

Pol Lt Gen Thaweesak said voters who are likely to miss polling must give a reason within seven days of the election to maintain their local voting rights.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said members of the public had complained about illegal registration of voters in Phasicharoen, Bang Kae, and Wang Thonglang districts, which could be a sign of electoral fraud.

Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva urged people who found irregularities to report to district chiefs.

Mr Abhisit said "some people" would discuss plans for the Bangkok governor election in Hong Kong but he did not think voters in Bangkok would bow to the power of money or the government.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra left for an official visit to Hong Kong and South Korea yesterday.

She said she would meet her elder brother and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong.

She also expressed her concern about poll results finding the popularity of Democrat MR Sukhumbhand was close to that of her Pheu Thai Party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen.

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