Senate election starts smoothly

Senate election starts smoothly
Senate election starts smoothly
Election officials demonstrate a vote at a Senate vote place in the Bang Kapi region of Bangkok on Sunday. ( Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and previous election inspector Somchai Srisutthiyakorn were among the prominent political figures who won the district-level vote on Sunday in the Senate vote.

Candidates who pass the district and provincial stages will then take part in the final, national-level vote scheduled for June 26. The provincial-level voting is scheduled to take place next Sunday ( June 16 ). The Election Commission (EC ) is expected to release the final results for the selection of 200 new senators sometime in July.

Nevertheless, Sunday’s voting went easily with only about 22 concerns received by the EC about alleged abnormalities which will be following investigated fully, said EC president Itthiporn Boonpracong.

According to him, the EC’s investigations into these issues may be finished in 20 days if provided with ample data, with the possibility of more complaints being filed with the EC in three days starting from Sunday.

Candidates for the poll who want to watch the voting process on Sunday using footage from surveillance cameras installed at all election locations can do so by first contacting the EC.

According to Pol Lt. Gen. Kornchai Klayklueng, associate federal police commander, on Sunday, authorities received a few complaints claiming election fraud related to the Nakhon Si Thammarat vote, but none in Bangkok.

In Bangkok only, around 17, 000 authorities officers were deployed at voting venues in the city to ensure safety and help the EC’s management of Sunday’s area- level vote, he said.

According to EC secretary-general Sawang Boonmee, results of Sunday’s vote will be announced on Monday ( June 10 ) at the voting locations and will later be published on the EC’s website and Smart Vote application.

In response to the claim that some candidates may have lost the election on Sunday as a result of candidate deception by groups of applicants who entered the race as part of a plot to ensure that candidates win, Mr. Sawang said that was pure speculation that would never result in punishment for everyone if it was not proven to be accurate and contrary to the Senate vote law.

In Chiang Mai, Mr Somchai, the previous prime church, emerged as a champion in Sunday’s region- level voting in Mae Rim district, according to an informed source.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, where 444 candidates in all 20 expert groups contested the district- level vote, some election candidates linked to the ruling Pheu Thai Party even won Sunday’s vote among different well- known regional figures, said a source.

Samphat Atthawong, a former Pheu Thai MP for Nakhon Ratchasima and elder brother of Seksakol” Rambo Isan” Atthawong, who is now with the United Thai Nation Party, and Somphot Prasatthai, a former Pheu Thai election candidate and key figure of the red- shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship ( UDD), a political ally of Pheu Thai, were named among other successful candidates at Sunday’s voting, said the source.

Other successful candidates included Natthinikon Chantharanothai, wife of Wichian Chantharanothai, a former Nakhon Ratchasima governor, Witthun Chatpatimaphong, a former president of Nakhon Ratchasima’s provincial administration organisation, and Kanok Tosurat, a former member of the 2007 constitution drafting assembly, according to the same source.

However, n Buri Ram – long perceived as Bhumjaithai Party’s political stronghold – Usanee Chidchob, an elder sister of Newin Chidchob, the de facto leader of Bhumjaithai, lost Sunday’s vote.

Buri Ram recorded the country’s fourth highest number of Senate election candidates, 1, 836, contesting the district- level vote in all 20 professional groups. Of this number, 112 candidates had been disqualified prior to Sunday’s vote.

In Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok, Lae Dilokwitharat, an emeritus professor with Chulalongkorn University, Assoc Prof Nantana Nantavaropas, dean of Political Communication College at Krirk University, Anusorn Tipayanon, a well- known writer and translator, and Assoc Prof Pichit Likitkijsomboon, a former Economics lecturer with Thammasat University, were among the well- known figures who contested Sunday’s vote, said a different source.