The all for Prayuth electoral farce

16 12 2018

The efforts by the junta and its associated agencies like the Election Commission look remarkably like unabashed efforts to have The Dictator get all the advantages in the forthcoming elections. Of course, that’s what much of the period since the 2014 military coup has been about, but it is now in high gear.

Again, the Bangkok Post has several accounts outlining even more  blatant rigging.

One story is about photos on campaign posters. The EC is about to issue a rule that says that these can only be of “MP candidates, their party leaders or prime ministerial candidates.” This rules in Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha after he is nominated by Palang Pracharath but rules out Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra. We might expect that the EC will also ban the use of quotes from non-candidates as well.

Me for PM!

The EC is also concocting other rules that will disadvantage parties that do not have the current regime rooting for it. For example, the EC is expected to limit the number of posters an MP candidate may use at just two per polling station. This is to limit the visibility of non-junta parties and candidates.

Further, it is the EC that will design the “campaign poster for each MP candidate to be put in a place that is yet to be decided in each constituency. The size will be A3…”. This is meant to limit the visibility of non-junta parties and candidates.

In addition, the EC will limit the capacity of parties to campaign by restricting the number of vehicles a candidate may use. Remarkable.

In a second story, the regime has announced that Gen Prayuth can stay on as premier, doing his day job as The Dictator even as his Palang Pracharath Party campaigns for him to be prime minister following the election.

The junta had Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam announce this fix. While he said that “Gen Prayut cannot assist the party which nominated him in canvassing for votes even outside office hours,” this is a pretense and disingenuous. He’s been campaigning for them for weeks and will continue to do so as he enjoys impunity from all law and lacks any measure of integrity.

Tellingly, Wissanu refused to reveal what actions might constitute an illegal intervention, although he mumbled that Prime Minister Prayuth has to separate himself from Candidate Prayuth when speaking publicly. Sure, that’s going to happen (not).

Even more telling was Wissanu’s frank admission that “members of the government who belong to a party might have an edge over other parties contesting the next poll because they can put in place national policies which are apparent to the voters.”

We have been seeing this kind of cheating for several months already and the cabinet, with a prime ministerial candidate and a bunch of ministers campaigning for Palang Pracharath, can continue to hold campaign-like mobile cabinet meetings as long as it wants!

As a third account, assessing all this cheating, see the Bangkok Post’s editorial that is a laundry list of fudges, fixes and cheating.

No one can suggest that this election is anything but a rigged election. The notion of free and fair can’t be associated with this electoral farce.


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