Palang Pracharath candidate accused of vote-buying

Palang Pracharath candidate accused of vote-buying

Pornwisit: Failed to win seat
Pornwisit: Failed to win seat

The Election Commission (EC) has filed a case with the Supreme Court seeking the withdrawal of political rights for a Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) MP candidate in Nakhon Sawan for vote-buying.

The EC announced on its website yesterday that it had agreed to charge Pornwisit Jaemsai, who stood for election in the province's Constituency 5, as well as his assistant Nutthanon Benjapinyo, with violating the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives, BE 2561 (2018).

Subsequently, the votes cast for Mr Pornwisit were declared null and void, according to the website.

Mr Pornwisit was the third runner-up in last year's general election, receiving 12.77% of the vote, while Bhumjaithai's Phiradech Siriwansant won the seat with 47.15%.

According to the EC, Ms Nutthanon allegedly gave two white shirts with the party's logo to a potential voter at the PPRP's Takhli branch office on May 4, 2023, 10 days before the election.

She then allegedly paid 10,000 baht to the recipient to attend a campaign rally where Mr Pornwisit gave a speech on April 29.

Ms Nutthanon allegedly told the recipient not to notify the EC about the payment, and to keep 4,000 baht and divide the remaining amount among family members.

The recipient allegedly returned to the party office that night to submit copies of identification cards belonging to 31 voters in the Takhli community and nearby areas, with the aim of giving them 500 baht each for voting for Mr Phornwisit.

The EC also had screenshots of an alleged discussion between Ms Nutthanon and the recipient on the Line messaging app and a voice recording discussing the payment after the recipient reported the matter to the EC.

Ms Nutthanon may have bought votes, and Mr Pornwisit may have been involved, the EC said.

Capt Thammanat Prompow, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister and Secretary-General of the PPRP, said the party does not allow anyone to buy votes. He said the candidate's actions were not condoned by the party.

"We do not have a policy to support candidates who violate Election Commission rules," he said.

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