Samut Songkhram or Samut Sakhon? Ask the EC chief
Sunday’s advance voting was the first election to be overseen by the Election Commission (EC) chief, Ittiporn Boonpracong, who is a diplomat by profession and was once an ambassador to the Netherlands and Kenya.
Though the turnout on March 17 was the highest recorded in Thailand, the EC still came under criticism for not being able to control chaos in some areas.
The commotion at some booths may have been the reason why Ittiporn said at a press briefing that illegal activities had taken place in the Central province of Samut Sakhon.
He said a voter in the province had stolen a stack of election tickets because he wanted to use them to vote for a certain political party. The suspect has been arrested and is facing legal action for violating the election law. The ballots, meanwhile, have been destroyed, he said.
On Monday, however, EC director for Samut Sakhon, Thiensan Wiriyanupab, held a press briefing to deny Ittiporn’s claims.
“Based on our investigation into the EC president’s claims, we found no such activities were performed in Samut Sakhon’s three constituencies,” he said, adding that further investigation has shown that the alleged illegal activity took place in Samut Songkhram – his province’s immediate neighbour.
“We cannot get involved with what happened in Samut Songkhram, but I would like to emphasise that advance voting in Samut Sakhon went smoothly,” Thiensan said.