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Strong support for life bans for poll cheats

Sep 17. 2016
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By THE SUNDAY NATION

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MOST people surveyed recently have agreed to empowering the Election Commission so it can impose a lifetime ban on politicians whose electoral rights are annulled by the Supreme Court for electoral fraud.
Over 87 per cent of respondents in the latest Suan Dusit Poll voiced support for a proposal for the EC to be able to issue a “black card” to electoral candidates guilty of such an offence, according to the results of a survey released yesterday. 
The respondents said they saw the need to punish convicted cheating politicians in a decisive and serious way – to set an example for possible offenders in the future.
Less than 4 per cent of those surveyed said they disagreed with allowing the EC to impose a lifetime ban on candidates. They argued that the punishment was too severe and that there was a possibility of the EC |making a wrong decision over such a matter.
The survey was conducted by Suan Dusit University’s Research Centre on 1,143 people in all regions of the country between last Tuesday and Friday.
Most respondents – more than 74 per cent – said they agreed with allowing the EC to issue four types of “cards” in line with the severity of electoral offences – either a yellow card, orange card, red card, or a black. They argued that this way, the problem of electoral fraud could be tackled |efficiently.
However, almost 54 per cent of respondents said they were worried it would be unfair to some candidates involved, as the EC would make its decisions unilaterally.
More than 54 per cent of those surveyed suggested that the original practice of having only “yellow cards” and “red cards” should be sufficient to tackle electoral fraud.
“Yellow cards” have been issued to suspend candidates suspected of having cheated, while the “red card” has been issued to void the victory of elected MPs found to have won by dishonest means.
Meanwhile, the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) will discuss proposals tomorrow to fight corruption that include requirements for senior public officials, in addition to political office holders, to report their financial status to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
The proposals have been made by the NRSA’s reform committee on the fight against corruption, which is headed by former NACC president Panthep Klanarongran.
A suggested measure calls for the NACC to revise its regulations to require that all state officials with the responsibility of approving state hiring and procurement to regularly report details about their incomes and debts, including those of their spouses and minor children. 
 

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