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Thai candidates face vote buying charges

Thai candidates face vote buying charges

Thailand's Election Commission has disqualified three victor's from this month's general election on charges of vote buying, officials said yesterday. All three were from the People's Power Party, which is closely allied with ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The three candidates are from northeastern Buriram province and will face criminal charges and not be able to run in by-elections that are expected to be held January 13, said commission secretary-general Sutthiphon Thaweechaikan.
"We found that they were involved in giving out cash and other valuables in exchange for votes," Sutthiphon said.
Thaksin's allies in the PPP came out on top in the country's first election since he was ousted by a military coup in September 2006, winning 233 of 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament.
The anti-Thaksin Democrat Party won 165 seats in the election.
Though the PPP won the largest number of seats in the December 23 poll, it failed to win a majority and needs to form a coalition with smaller parties to form a government.
The disqualifications will become official after a review by the Council of State, the government's legal advisory body, Election Commissioner Sodsri Sathayatham told The Associated Press.
"That would reduce the number of seats won by the PPP by at least three seats," Sodsri said, adding that the commission will continue to investigate dozens of other alleged electoral violations.
The commission had earlier nullified three results in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima after finding evidence that three PPP victors in one district hired people to hand out cash for votes.
In the cases of nullifications, the victors are not disqualified and will be allowed to run again in by-elections, said Sodsri.
Although the PPP says it has already gathered enough support from smaller parties to form a coalition, analysts say that horse-trading continues and that it is too early to declare the pro-Thaksin grouping as Thailand's next government.


Updated : 2021-03-01 00:46 GMT+08:00