The Nation



A penny for your votes

Re: "Reforms must uproot 'money politics'", Editorial, December 5.

Buying votes is illegal. As noted in the editorial, it is practised because of the "perks" that public office brings. An Election Commission that can't always identify the crime only abets it. The crowning glory is that the chances of being convicted are minute and the chances of prison time are even smaller.

It is much easier for the judicial system to shake down the perpetrators for a few million baht, rather than to go through years of paperwork that will produce no results. If the party boss is a former top cop, why bother at all? In the seven years since Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted for corruption, you can count the convictions for the same crime on your fingers. Somebody needs to crank up the conviction rate. The appeal system should be tightened and speeded up.

I applaud populist policies if they are done with good intent and the purported beneficiaries actually get the benefits. If a left-wing party were formed to take advantage of "the popular vote", it would contain none of the current Cabinet ministers.

There are several reasons for ousting the current administration, but buying votes is not on my list.

Richard Bowler


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