Senator candidate complains about vote-buying
published : 27 Dec 2018 at 19:35
writer: Online Reporters
A senator candidate for the small farmers’ group has protested against the elections at the national level, claiming efforts were made to buy votes.
Boonyuen Khaopakchong, a candidate of the small farmers’ group from Chumphon province, spoke out while votes for the group were being counted on Thursday.
Mr Boonyuen claimed he had received a call offering him 20,000 baht but he refused and told the caller he wouldn’t sell his vote even for a million baht.
Kesak Sudsawad, a candidate of the same group from Yasothon province, said he also suspected a foul play. “The farmers [candidates] who just met won unexpected high votes of 48 or 20 even though they know one another for just 1-2 days.”
He also admitted receiving calls asking for an exchange of votes but he would not press the issue. “If the election system is like this, our country will be weak. It’s shame so much money has been spent on the elections,” he said, referring to the 1.3-billion-baht budget for the senators' elections.
Complaints will be considered later, says EC president Ittiporn Boonpracong.
In any case, Ittiporn Boonpracong, president of the Election Commission, declared the process a success.
A total of 2,746 senator candidates were eligible to choose 200 among themselves at the national level on Thursday, he said. Of the total, 2,294 were independent runners while 452 were recommended by their professional groups.
But when the time came, 71 did not show up, leaving the total votes cast on Thursday at 2,675.
Mr Ittiporn acknowledged the complaints made by the small farmers' group and said their points were taken and would be considered later.
The names of the successful 200 candidates will be held for five days to allow time for complaints to be filed in three days, he said.
He added drawing was necessary to pick the winners in several groups where the votes were tied.
The elections on Thursday were the last step to screen 200 candidates of which names will be sent to the National Council for Peace and Order. The NCPO will then shortlist them to 50 and another 50 as substitutes. The selected 50 will subsequently join other senators coming from different sources. (see chart)