Fri, July 01, 2022

in-focus

Chadchart victory on hold as EC probes complaint over banners


Bangkok governor-elect Chadchart Sittipunt faces obstacles to his ratification as new city chief, with two complaints filed against him so far.

The complaints cover his recyclable campaign banners and remarks he made about the government system.

The Election Commission is set to consider the results of the Bangkok governor and councillor elections at 1pm on Monday.

Chadchart won last Sunday’s governor election by a landslide, receiving over 1.38 million votes – more than all other candidates combined. The Democrats’ Suchatvee Suwansawat (254,723 votes) and Move Forward’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn (253,938) were a distant second and third.

The council election saw opposition parties claim the majority of Bangkok’s 50 districts, with Pheu Thai winning 20 and Move Forward 14.

For the ruling coalition, the Democrats won only won nine seats in what was once their stronghold, while Palang Pracharath and Thai Sang Thai won just two seats each. The Raks Krungthep group won in three Bangkok districts.

So far, 24 complaints have been filed against Bangkok governor and councillor candidates, mostly over campaign banners and candidates' remarks.

The first complaint against Chadchart came from political activist Srisuwan Janya, who alleged that his campaign banners amounted to vote-buying as voters could recycle them into bags and aprons.

The EC must now investigate whether Chadchart's banners were offered as assets or benefits to attract people to vote for him, or were aimed at conserving the environment.

A separate complaint alleges that Chadchart insulted the government system by saying its complicated steps would affect his operations as Bangkok governor.

However, this issue does not concern election laws and falls into a legal grey area.

An EC source said the commission would postpone ratification of any vote results affected by legitimate complaints or evidence that the election was not transparent.

For instance, the EC will approve 45 of 50 council-seat elections, while a committee will be set up to investigate the complaints against the remaining five councillors-elect, the source said.

According to the law, the EC must announce the results within 30 days of election day if there is no evidence of irregularities. In cases where there is evidence of irregularity, the commission must announce the results or organise another election within 60 days.

Published : May 29, 2022

By : THE NATION