Palang Pracharath absolved by EC

4 07 2019

We missed this story in the Thai media, perhaps because we were looking at the stories on the cowardly attack on Sirawith Seritiwat. We looked back through the Bangkok Post – who can find anything there after the website revamp? – but nothing and we couldn’t find it in the usual English-language sources or in Thai social media. But maybe that’s just us and our hopelessness with technology.

Anyway, after months of “investigation,” the dolts at the Election Commission have cleared Palang Pracharath of any wrongdoing over its huge banquet fundraiser. We always knew that this would be the result, but we are surprised at the quietness about it. Here’s the full story we saw at Xinhua:

Thailand’s Election Commission has acquitted the Palang Pracharath Party, core of a new coalition government, of charges which could have otherwise warranted the dissolution of the party.

Election Commission Secretary General Charungwit Phumma, who concurrently acts as political party registrar, was quoted on Tuesday as saying the polling agency has ruled the Palang Pracharath Party not guilty of the charges that it threw a costly fund-raising party during the run up to the March election which had been alleged by a political opponent to have violated the law.

The Election Commission ruled that the Palang Pracharath Party’s fund-raising event was not considered a sales activity with commercial profits to be raised and shared.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission judged that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha could legally run for post-election prime minister though he was running the country as head of government during his candidacy under the tickets of the Palang Pracharath Party, regarding the constitution’s Article 88 and Article 89 and the organic law pertaining to the election of MPs.

According to the secretary general, the polling agency also ruled that Prayut did not practically own any media business though he had opened a Facebook page and an Instagram page during the run up to the election, regarding the constitution’s Article 170.

If found guilty of those charges, the party could have been otherwise dissolved at the order of the Constitutional Court.

Clearing the junta and Palang Pracharath is about what everyone thought would happen when there’s a puppet EC in place and where some of its members have already been rewarded with Senate slots.

Updated: Cheats cheating I

12 06 2019

As everyone knows, Thailand remains a military dictatorship and no government has yet been formed to replace it. Indeed, in a recent ranking, Thailand was determined as “unfree,” ranking between absolute monarchy Brunei and troubled countries with Zimbabwe and Iraq. The “unfreedom” will continue, with dozens of junta orders being converted into laws that will apply into the future, backing a backward constitution that permitted a rigged election.

That rigging has been a vast and expensive project that could, if unchecked, allow the odious cheat Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to remain as prime minister for another eight year as the unelected Senate he selected will vote again in four years if Thailand has another election.

The selection of the Senate has been a closely-held secret for months simply because of the thoroughgoing cheating it involved. Because the junta has gotten away with a coup, political repression, corruption, a fake constitutional referendum, a rigged and stolen election and more, it figures nothing can derail it now, so it has released some details of its cheating.

In the selection of The Dictator as premier, we know that every single unelected puppet senator voted for their boss (the Senate president abstained, but would have voted for his longtime boss if necessary).

We now also know that the “reserve list” of 50 senators, “publicized in the Royal Gazette, include Election Commission sec-gen Jarungvith Phumma, foreign minister Don Pramudwinai, former deputy governor of Bangkok Pol. Lt. Gen. Amnuay Nimmano, and former member of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly Prapan Koonme.”

The listing of the EC’s secretary-general indicates how just how flawed the EC is, run by junta puppets and automatons. Rigging an election requires a cheating EC. Having delivered the junta its “victory,” this puppet secretary-general will likely get his reward.

More cheating is confirmed by junta legal thug Wissanu Krea-ngam. It is reported that “[u]nder mounting pressure from transparency activists and political parties,” he has released “the identities of the selection committee who contributed to filling the 250-member junta-appointed senate.”

It should be surprising – but, then nothing is surprising any more – that:

Among the committee were six senators: former deputy PM Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya, former deputy PM Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, former deputy PM Thanasak Patimaprakorn, deputy junta head Adm. Narong Pipatanasai, former labor minister Pol. Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew, and former president of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.

Wissanu has made unbelievable claims about the committee was “politically neutral” and that the secrecy about membership was to prevent “lobbying.” Of course, all the “lobbying” was actually the junta pulling all the strings.

He has also insisted – again unbelievable – that “members of the selection committee abstained from voting or attending the voting session if their name came up in the candidate roster,” while their brothers voted for them, saying “I can confirm that no member ever brought up their name in the selection process. Everything is on the record…”.

While we have no doubt that if he released “the record,” it would confirm his account. After all, the junta has scribes who can fabricate any record it likes. How Wissanu can say such things with a straight face is a measure of how low the junta – and Thailand – has sunk.

Now the cheating cheats have to ensure their continuing political domination for another eight years.

Update: The Bangkok Post has a few more details on the great Senate scam. The junta’s fixing panel that put the scam together had 10 members becoming nine when Pornpetch resigned. Six of them (see above) became members of the Senate they selected for the junta. The other four were Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Wissanu, Gen Anupong Paojinda, and deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak, all of whom are likely to be ministers in the “new” government. In other words, every one of the junta’s panel are now holding positions – or soon will be – in the junta’s “new” government as well as holding such positions under the junta. What can we say? The whole thing is a massive scam foisted on the nation by the junta. It seems there is no way of holding this bunch of election crooks accountable for any of their cheating.

Updated: Feckless fools

29 04 2019

The Election Commission is a hastily cobbled together sham and a joke.

After the re-run of the “election” in Nakhon Pathom province, on Sunday  EC commissioner Chatchai Chanpraisri announced that “the Future Forward Party had won over the Democrat Party by 65 votes.”

The Democrat Party challenged this announcement and provided figures showing its candidate won by four votes. Today EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma “admitted … the Democrat account was accurate.

EC deputy secretary-general Sawang Boonmee “said the incorrect results announced on Sunday were unofficial and were made before the counting tally had been completed.”

What a mob of feckless failures this EC is. The are incompetent and stupid. That’s probably not the EC’s fault as much as the junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly selecting hopeless incompetents for the task of ensuring the junta “won” the “election.”

Update: It seems the feckless fools are also cheats. That seems to be the implication of Future Forward’s response to the Nakorn Pathom fiasco. The party is “pressing for a poll rerun … to set the record straight after claiming Sunday’s ballot recount was riddled with inaccuracies.” As well as the inaccuracies, the party also pointed to “a 20-second blackout while the ballots were being recounted…”. Blackouts seem to have been remarkably common during vote counts.

How electoral commissioning works

12 04 2019

The ongoing controversy about how to select party list “winners” from the recent “election” is a fake controversy. We don’t mean that the military junta’s effort to steal the election is fake; that’s very real. Nor do we mean that the theft isn’t of concern to the anti-junta parties; they are watching the election being stolen.

What we mean is that the Election Commission is manufacturing a controversy in order to achieve the outcome the junta wants. Only concerted opposition can stop this.

The EC’s political feint seems to run like this. First, the EC seemed to say it didn’t know how to calculate the party list. Remember the infamous “I don’t have a calculator” comment by EC boss Ittiporn Boonpracong. Then it seemed easy enough, right? Wrong.

As the possibility of an anti-junta coalition emerged, EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma claimed that his EC wasn’t sure how it is going to calculate party list seats. He revealed that there were at least two formulas, each based on a different “interpretation” of the law.

Then the “controversy” was underway, with the junta’s puppets emerging to say that the only way to allocate the seats was by a formula that favored their bosses. This caused the “controversy” to escalate.

As noted, several parties objected. But the point of the controversy was to find a way to “legalize” this aspect of the theft of the election.

As the Bangkok Post reports the “controversy” allows the EC to look stunned and stumped, and to send the “issue” to the Constitutional Court for it “to rule on the legality of its [chosen] method of calculating and allocating party-list seats.” That is, the way that suits the pro-junta position.

Now, we don’t know how the Court will rule, and it might surprise us, but we can make a pretty good guess based on its previous rulings. It has pretty much a 100% record of supporting the anti-democrat/pro-junta positions, most recently and hastily dissolved the Thai Raksa Chart Party on dubious grounds.

This means that the Court is likely to agree with the EC and thus “legalize” this aspect of stealing the election.

That’s how election commissioning works. As Reuters puts it: “The move raises the prospect of further delay after a lack of clarity over the election outcome fuelled concerns over alleged manipulation by the military government…”.

That’s how the “system” works, “legalizing” all that is illegal (from coup to dissolving parties and much more).

Only concerted opposition can prevent the EC and the Constitutional Court from supporting the military junta’s theft of party list seats.

Further updated: On stealing the election III

3 04 2019

In most places where elections are held the Election Commission usually knows how the process works. But not in Thailand.

Even when little startles us when it comes to political shenanigans in Thailand, a report in The Nation caused us something of a start.

Election Commission secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma has said that the EC doesn’t yet know how it is going to calculate party list seats.

He revealed that the EC will probably decide what to do later this week. Jaurungvith said that there are “[a]t least two formulas, based on different interpretations of the law…”.

We can be sure that the puppet EC will choose the method that best suits the junta’s Palang Pracharath and other devil parties.

Bungling, opaque and belonging to the junta, the EC has failed dismally. Yet we guess the junta still has work for them to do.

Update: Is the EC lying and cheating (for the junta) or is it full of dullards and incompetents?

At the Bangkok Post, former member of the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee and former election commissioner Prapan Naigowit appears to say that the EC’s statements about there being “at least two formulas” is absolute nonsense.

Prapan states that “the process is explicitly set out in Section 128 of the law and covers all possible scenarios…”. Of course, he might be seen as one of the junta’s messengers.

We await the EC’s bumbling response.

It isn’t clear I

27 03 2019

The Election Commission is downright hopeless. It seems unable to learn from its mistakes and continues to act as if it is collaborating in a process to steal an election. No wonder it faces a challenge (that the junta will simply see off as it controls all agencies involved).

The EC has said no  further election results can be issued despite “counting the remaining 5 per cent of votes…”.  EC secretary-general Jarungwit Phumma was quoted as saying this is “due to complaints of irregularities in some constituencies…”. The EC says it has 146 complaints. It is unclear – the EC is deliberately opaque – whether this includes the 100 or so complaints it had about pre-polling. He also said that the EC would “investigate” all complaints before 9 May, the legal deadline for announcing final results.

Apparently, although this is also unclear, there will be a final vote announcement sometime on Thursday, with EC secretary-general Jarungwit Phumma saying that the EC needed “examine votes for all candidates…”.

It isn’t clear what this might mean.146 complaints to be checked by 9 May but all votes being “examined” by today Bangkok time? Is the EC flustered, hopeless at communication, poorly reported, a bunch of dunces, under orders or conniving in cheating? Take your pick and think of combinations.

Meanwhile complaints pile up about the election and the EC, with the Thammasat University Students Union having “denounced the EC for its inefficient and opaque work during the election.”

EC president Ittiporn Boonpracong found it necessary to reject “speculation that the irregularities could lead to the annulling of the election.” Elections have been annulled for far less in the past, but that was in 2006 and by a politicized judiciary on yellow shirt complaints. The situation now is likely in the hands of the junta and it will do what it thinks serves its interests.

Nothing about the EC is transparent, clear or pellucid.

Updated: Election monitoring

24 03 2019

With the Bangkok Post stating that “[s]ome instances of vote buying have already been reported,” the Election Commission’s hapless chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong said: “The result of this election will indicate the direction of [Thai] democracy…”. It might, but the junta is not interested in democracy.

He also said “rapid teams are ready to spot election law violations, especially vote buying.” Based on the EC’s failures to date, we doubt that the EC is even interested.

Another EC boss Pol Col Jarungvith Phumma “gave assurances on Saturday the 2,000 election officials and almost 800,000 staff working at polling stations across the country are 100% ready for the general election.” Pol Col Jarungvith “urged the public to help act as the eyes and ears of the EC and keep the general election transparent.”

The promise that EC “investigations” may play a major role in the election outcome, it has “set up 35 sub-committees comprising 175 members to review election-related complaints.”

The EC has also played up the role of “foreign observers.” Election commissioner Loetwirot Kowatthana said “representatives from 11 countries and International IDEA, a democracy advocacy group, attended a forum to familiarise themselves with the election before they began their observations.”

Even from that statement, any reasonable observer will see problems. Not many observers and with not much knowledge. Notably, the EU is doing little. The reasons for this can be quoted at length for the issues and problems it reveals:

In order to avoid confusion following some recent ambiguous media reports, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Thailand wishes to clarify that the EU is not fielding an Election Observation Mission (EOM) on the occasion of the Thai parliamentary elections to be held on 24 March 2019.

EU election observation requires a long-term, country-wide presence of an independent EOM which conducts its activities according to a comprehensive methodology in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. This requires an official invitation from the host country and a lead-in time of four to six months in order to prepare the mission, including the deployment of long-term observers. In the case of the Thai general elections, the EU did not receive such an invitation in the required timeframe.

In the absence of an EOM, the EU Delegation – alongside diplomatic missions of some EU Member States – has registered a number of its diplomatic staff members accredited to Thailand for participation in what is commonly referred to as a “diplomatic watch”. This entails visits of accredited persons to polling stations on Election Day only in order to develop a general sense of the conduct of elections, to be used primarily for internal reporting. Such activities are necessarily small both in numbers and geographic scope and therefore do not constitute an “election observation”. They are not sufficient for formulating an overall assessment of the electoral process and cannot form the basis of any public statement.

The European Union in Thailand welcomes the holding of elections as a milestone on the country’s path back to democracy and wishes all Thai people a peaceful and meaningful Election Day.

Not having serious election monitoring suits the junta.

Update: A later Bangkok Post report is that, in Nakhon Pathom, a tambon administration organisation deputy chairman and a kamnan’s assistant have been accused of vote buying. Social media reports are of considerable vote buying, mostly by Palang Pracharath.