Pongsapat's voting record in dispute
Officials probing whether Pheu Thai candidate failed to vote in a previous electionElection officials yesterday were investigating an allegation that Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the ruling Pheu Thai Party's Bangkok gubernatorial candidate, failed to vote in a previous election, which would disqualify him from running.
Veera Yipae, director of the Election Commission's Bangkok office, said the permanent secretary of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration - in her capacity as the local election director - was checking the qualifications of all the 25 candidates. She has until tomorrow to announce whether all are qualified to contest.
Yesterday, Veera said he was aware of the allegation that Pongsapat had failed to exercise his voting right in the July 2011 general election.
A source from the Election Commission said that an initial check found that Pongsapat actually did cast his vote on July 3, 2011.
However, Veera said there were also other by-elections and local elections in certain districts of Bangkok in 2011 and last year.
Election officials were still working to determine whether any of the candidates had failed to vote in any of those elections.
"We still can't confirm if any of the candidates are disqualified due to failure to vote," Veera said.
According to the Constitution, "the person who fails to vote without notifying a reasonable cause of such failure shall lose such rights as provided by law", which include the right to contest an election. The ban is offset when that person votes in the next election.
The Election Commission has received the most complaints about campaign posters blocking motorists' view of traffic, according to Panravee Veerapan, director of the EC's investigation office.
The agency has 176 news gatherers who have been sent to work in all districts of Bangkok in the run-up to the March 3 election.
Panravee also invited the public to report any suspected electoral fraud.
On the campaign trail, the opposition Democrat Party yesterday assigned its MPs to boost MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra's efforts, with the focus on the city's outskirts, including Bang Phlat, Taling Chan, Thawee Watthana and Nong Khaem. Democrat MPs from the central and northeastern provinces will also be helping out, according to MP Ong-art Klampaiboon, who heads the Democrat campaign.
The party plans to hold a rally every Friday, starting tomorrow, at many locations around the city, with the last one on March 1 at Benjasiri Park.
The Democrats also have produced a campaign commercial for Sukhumbhand. It'll be released on YouTube under the slogan "Bangkok: Move Forward Immediately".