EC to probe 'cash for ID cards' claim

EC to probe 'cash for ID cards' claim

The Election Commission (EC) is looking into a claim that local officials and politicians are plotting together to commit fraud in the upcoming general election.

EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said the EC will dispatch staff from its main office to launch a probe into allegations of vote-buying.

The EC's move is in response to a claim made by Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intarasombat that some politicians, with the aid of local authorities, are inducing voters to release their ID cards in exchange for 500 baht.

It is suspected that the intention behind the practice is to use those citizenship cards to commit fraud in the general election.

According to Mr Jarungvith, the EC does not have enough information at this stage to say if the practice is considered an offence under election-related laws.

Meanwhile, the EC secretary-general said his office has yet to look into a fund-raising report from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), which held a Chinese-style fund-raising banquet on Dec 19 last year.

The event sparked criticism from other parties as well as calls for the EC and the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate it for transparency.

The PPRP, which claimed to have achieved its target of raising 600 million baht, yesterday submitted the report detailing the contributors to the EC.

Mr Jarungvith also declined to comment as to whether Gen Prayut and Mr Buddhipongse should be allowed to continue to appear on weekly television shows in the run-up to the general election after complaints that the platform may give an advantage to certain parties.

Gen Prayut addresses the nation on Friday evenings while the government spokesman appears on Tuesday evenings.

In related news, the EC is prepared to launch a six-week campaign to raise awareness of the need for a free and fair election at more than 430 schools under the supervision of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The campaign will kick off as soon as the election date is confirmed.

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