On stealing the election XI

28 04 2019

It was recently reported that Puea Thai candidate Surapol Kietchaiyakorn was issued the first-ever orange card by the Election Commission. He was accused of buying votes in Chiang Mai province’s Constituency 8 for making a donation of a clock and 2,000 baht to a senior monk on the day the electoral laws came into effect.

For more on orange cards, see here.

The Nation has a story that Surapol has “demanded that his case be reviewed.” He claims the decision is unfair and unjust:

I met the monk at a temple and made the donation from my personal money. I have met this monk many times before and have revered him for a long time. How can I buy votes anyway, when according to the Constitution, monks cannot vote?

The EC “claimed he was campaigning for votes while talking to the monk…”.

As we understand it, more orange cards are expected to be issued.

Meanwhile, serial complainer Srisuwan Janya seems intent on wiping out the Future Forward Party. Following his complaint about party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, which is now being investigated by the EC and is likely to go to the Constitutional Court, Srisuwan has lodged a further 11 complaints against Future Forward candidates.

All of his complaints relate to “their alleged shareholdings in media companies.” Like Thanathorn, if “found guilty, they face one to 10 years in jail and a fine of between Bt20,000 to Bt200,000. Their suffrage rights would also be revoked for 20 years.”

In several of these cases it seems that the basis for the complaint is that the candidates have an association with a company that may have registered using a form that lists scores of possible business operations that the company might engage in.

It seems that every MP-to-be who has ever been associated with a registered company is under threat. That’s not necessarily what was intended when the rule was drawn up as an anti-Thaksin measure, but the junta will be pleased to use it, so long as there’s no blowback for its Palang Pracharath Party. Srisuwan might worry them too.

Srisuwan was asked why “he was targeting only anti-junta politicians for disqualification…”. He claimed “he was gathering information about pro-junta politicians too for violating the same law.” Let’s see.