Why we are not surprised III (or Fixing the election VI)

23 05 2011

As reported in the Bangkok Post, Puea Thai Party candidate and red shirt leader Natthawut Saikua has told “supporters to stop disturbing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva while campaigning, saying their actions might result in a legal backlash from the Democrat Party.”

The Nation has part of the “legal backlash”: The Democrat Party has run to the Election Commission, complaining about red shirts. Apparently, the “Democrat Party has cried foul over the red shirts rallying to help Pheu Thai in its election campaign. It called on the EC to strictly check Pheu Thai’s campaign spending by including election spending incurred by the red shirts as part of Pheu Thai’s outlays.” The Party wants the EC to “take action to prevent other parties from using rallies or other activities to help them win the election…”.

Even though the Election Commission reckons it will not be easy for the Democrat Party “to prove that the red shirts belonged to the Pheu Thai Party or that they were from the same organisation,” PPT thinks that the strategy of the now very worried Democrat Party and their backers is clear. Seeing the opposition looking good in the polls, they are announcing the official beginning of the judicial overturning of any Puea Thai Party election victory.

The EC says “campaign spending could only be checked after the election had been held and it was different from electoral fraud, which it could check before and after the poll.”

The Bangkok Post reports a further element of this strategy working itself out. It reports a “former army captain who helped train security guards for the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy has set up a group that will monitor the Pheu Thai Party’s election campaign. Capt Songklod Chuenchuphol, 48, said on his Facebook and Twitter pages he was recruiting more ‘anonymous warriors’ to join a “mission” to give red cards to Pheu Thai candidates in the July3 election.”

The Captain said “Anonymous warriors will serve as intelligence officers who will attend all election campaign events of Pheu Thai to gather evidence and later submit it to the EC…”. And he claims to be urging Bhum Jai Thai Party real leader Newin Chidchob to provide him with “strategic support.”

This guy might simply be a crazy acting on his own, and yet the strategy must be one that the Democrat Party and its allies are keen to mobilize. After all, as recent history has demonstrated, there is more than one path to power following elections that produce “unsatisfactory” outcomes.