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Senator Somchai Swangkarn Demands Stricter Vetting in Senate Elections Amid Allegations of Misconduct

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Caretaker Senator Somchai Swangkarn has once again voiced his concerns regarding the integrity of the upcoming Senate elections. He insists that the Election Commission (EC) must perform thorough background checks on all candidates to ensure only qualified individuals participate in the poll, which is set to start on Sunday. This insistence comes in light of numerous complaints suggesting that several candidates have applied without proper qualifications, allegedly to manipulate the election results.

The Senate election system, which allows 200 members to be chosen through a series of internal votes rather than by the public, is seen as a major loophole. Here’s how it works: candidates first compete at the district level, then move on to the provincial level, and finally to the national level. The system, according to Mr. Somchai, opens doors for people to be recruited as a means to skew the results in favor of certain individuals. This has raised eyebrows and considerable public concern.

Mr. Somchai stressed the necessity for election officials at the district level to rigorously scrutinize the senatorial candidates. He recommended disqualifying any candidate found lacking the required qualifications. Highlighting the provinces where irregularities were reported—Samut Sakhon, Phetchaburi, Saraburi, Buri Ram, Si Sa Ket, Satun, and Songkhla—he urged for immediate corrective actions.

He added that some candidates were oddly from sectors like petrol stations and public health volunteering, yet they were applying for positions in their respective sectors, i.e., energy and public health groups. This was another red flag, indicating potential manipulation.

This past Sunday, Mr. Somchai disclosed a list of 149 candidates, identified only by their initials, the number of their professional group, and their respective provinces. He claimed that this list represented candidates who had been “earmarked” to glide through the final stage due to alleged collusion. These candidates, he said, were practically guaranteed a win before even beginning the district stage.

“The 149 ‘shortlisted’ candidates are merely the tip of the iceberg,” Mr. Somchai remarked. “I want to know what actions the EC will take when these flaws are discovered.”

He went on to point out that those who knowingly enter the race without proper qualifications could face severe penalties. These include jail terms ranging from one to ten years, fines between 20,000 to 200,000 baht, and a 20-year ban from participating in elections.

The district-level election, serving as the first round, is scheduled for Sunday. A whopping 46,206 candidates, who met the candidacy requirements set by election officials, are set to compete. Successful candidates from this level will move on to the provincial elections slated for June 16. Eventually, the finalists will vie for the coveted 200 seats in the national-level contest, culminating on June 26.


  1. Alex T June 4, 2024

    This is absolutely ridiculous! How can they even think of manipulating elections to this extent? It’s a complete mockery of democracy.

    • Sammy789 June 4, 2024

      I agree. If this is happening, it’s proof that the system is fundamentally flawed and needs immediate reform.

      • Patricia K. June 4, 2024

        Reforming the system is not just about fixing the Senate elections. It’s about addressing the root issues that allow such manipulation to occur in the first place.

      • Alex T June 4, 2024

        Exactly. Widespread corruption is the real enemy here, not just the election process.

    • Gary O. June 4, 2024

      But let’s be real, guys. Politics has always been dirty. We can’t be naive about these things happening in the real world.

  2. Nate87 June 4, 2024

    Somchai has a point. If people with no proper qualifications are running, what hope do we have for competent governance?

    • Jenna L. June 4, 2024

      We actually have no hope. It’s all a charade. Just look at the sectors they’re coming from. How absurd is that?

    • Politico123 June 4, 2024

      It doesn’t matter where they’re from as long as they can do the job. This elitist attitude is what’s causing division.

  3. Maya June 4, 2024

    Why should petrol station owners or public health volunteers be in the Senate? This raises so many red flags about their intentions.

    • Kris W. June 4, 2024

      Don’t underestimate them. Sometimes people from unconventional backgrounds can bring fresh perspectives.

    • Eric D June 4, 2024

      Yeah, but still, qualifications matter for a reason. We can’t just let anyone in.

  4. Sharon B. June 4, 2024

    Good on Somchai for speaking up! We need more politicians who are not afraid to call out this kind of garbage.

  5. Chris June 4, 2024

    The EC better take action or risk losing what little credibility it has left.

    • Lisa June 4, 2024

      Agreed! If the EC doesn’t act now, it’ll set a dangerous precedent for future elections.

    • Mr. Logic June 4, 2024

      But what if the allegations are unfounded? It’s risky to just assume guilt before proof.

  6. Tanya June 4, 2024

    If Somchai is right, and they actually found a way to ensure certain candidates win, then we’re all doomed.

  7. ConfusedMom June 4, 2024

    I don’t understand, why can’t the public just pick Senators? It seems more straightforward to me.

  8. Intellect007 June 4, 2024

    The internal voting system might have been designed to refine the selection process, but it’s clearly being manipulated.

  9. Jim B. June 4, 2024

    The penalties Somchai mentioned seem harsh. What if someone is falsely accused?

    • Nicole R. June 4, 2024

      Harsh maybe, but necessary. It’s a deterrent. We can’t afford leniency when it comes to election fraud.

    • EthicsPro June 4, 2024

      That’s why we need meticulous investigations. False accusations could ruin lives.

  10. Ravi June 4, 2024

    This issue isn’t just limited to this election. It’s been a recurring problem in our political landscape.

  11. Maxwell June 4, 2024

    Why do we always have to learn about these issues from whistleblowers like Somchai? Why isn’t the EC proactive?

  12. PoliticalJunky44 June 4, 2024

    I bet nothing will change. They’ll just sweep it under the rug like they always do.

  13. Grace H. June 5, 2024

    Is there any accountability? What steps are actually being taken to address these concerns?

  14. EducatedVoter June 5, 2024

    It’s time for a complete overhaul of the election system. We need transparency from top to bottom.

    • Chang Lee June 5, 2024

      Easier said than done. We have to address corruption at all levels first.

    • Sarah J. June 5, 2024

      True. Without dealing with the corruption, any reforms are just superficial.

    • EducatedVoter June 5, 2024

      Indeed. It’s a complex web that needs dismantling piece by piece.

  15. KwekaM June 5, 2024

    I hope more people start paying attention to these kinds of issues. It’s our future at stake here.

  16. Raj S. June 5, 2024

    Are the EC officials themselves subject to the same scrutiny? Seems like everyone should be checked.

  17. Mandy W. June 5, 2024

    If these so-called rigged candidates end up winning, there should be a full-scale investigation.

  18. DaRealist June 5, 2024

    How many times have we heard about election fraud and nothing changes? I’m so tired of this.

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