Politicians face ban if caught handing out freebies after Sept 23
Politicians and political parties have been barred from giving any handouts after September 23 as they may be violating the electoral law.
The Election Commission (EC) said in a statement on Friday that the vote campaigning period goes into effect on September 24 – 180 days before the House of Representatives' four-year term ends on March 23, 2023.
An EC source said on Saturday that election candidates would be violating the organic electoral law if they distributed items to potential voters after next Friday.
“Doing so would be seen as buying votes,” the source pointed out.
The source also said that candidates cannot add the cost of these handouts to the campaign expenditure details submitted to the EC, as distribution of any items after next Friday would be deemed an “illegal campaigning act”.
The organic law on the election of MPs prohibits candidates from “procuring, giving, offering to give, promising to give or preparing to give property or any other benefits with a monetary value to any person”.
Violators can face one to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 baht, as well as a court-ordered revocation of voting rights for up to 20 years.
The EC issued this warning because it has become a wide practice for Thai politicians to distribute survival kits among stranded flood victims and Covid-19 patients in home isolation.