EC: TRC's vote shift, 'no vote' campaign an illegal tactic

EC: TRC's vote shift, 'no vote' campaign an illegal tactic

Woravat Auapinyakul, front left, a former member of the disbanded Thai Raksa Chart party, is flanked by supporters in Phrae province, where a
Woravat Auapinyakul, front left, a former member of the disbanded Thai Raksa Chart party, is flanked by supporters in Phrae province, where a "Vote no" campaign has been launched to try to force re-runs in as many electorates as possible. (Photo by Thaweeporn Sukkhasem)

The Election Commission has begun an inquiry into the plan by politicians from the disbanded Thai Raksa Chart party to shift supporters' votes to another party and their call for 'no' votes, deeming the tactic illegal.

Chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong said on Wednesday the commission was aware of the movement and had the power to launch the investigation right away, without having to wait for a complaint.

The EC had already ordered either its secretary-general or its office to start the investigation, he said.

The disbandment of the TRC also voided the politicians' status as candidates for election to the House. Most electoral laws therefore no longer applied to them, the EC chairman said. However, they were still required to obey other relevant laws.

 "Campaigns for 'no' votes and for eligible voters to vote for another party are prohibited. Laws clearly stipulate that voters must make their choice by themselves, without being led or influenced," Mr Ittiporn said.

"Whether these campaigners or the candidates who receive the votes will be held responsible will depend on the witnesses and evidence."

The EC chairman denied any intention to have any political party dissolved through this latest intervention.

Mr Ittiporn was responding to questions on the announcement by some members of the disbanded TRC, encouraging the party's voting base to cast "no" votes to force fresh elections in some electorates and then vote for the new candidates of politically allied parties which are not currently fielding candidates there.

Under electoral law, if the "no vote" outnumbers the winning candidate's tally, a fresh election must be called in that constituency. 


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