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Somchai Swangkarn Calls for Urgent Election Probe Amid Buri Ram Voting Irregularities

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On a bustling Sunday at the esteemed Centara Life Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre in Bangkok, Senate candidates gathered to cast their votes in the pivotal provincial-level election. The event, captured vividly by the keen lens of Varuth Hirunyatheb, marked a significant step in the political landscape.

However, amidst the democratic fervor, a call for urgency arose. Caretaker senator Somchai Swangkarn implored the Election Commission (EC) to hasten their investigation into alleged election irregularities, particularly in Buri Ram, where certain candidates astonishingly amassed an unusually high number of votes from their peers. Somchai’s plea came in response to the startling outcomes of the weekend’s election, where out of the 23,645 hopefuls that passed the district-level selection on June 9, only 3,080 were shortlisted for the next stage. These contenders, with eyes on the grand prize of 200 Senate seats, are now poised for the national-level contest on June 26 at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi, with results eagerly awaited on July 2.

The air was thick with suspicion as several prominent candidates found themselves unexpectedly eliminated during the provincial round. On his Facebook page, Sen Somchai shed light on the oddities, revealing information that suggested a large number of candidates in Buri Ram refrained from voting for themselves. Instead, they nearly unanimously favored certain individuals, each garnering over 20 votes. This peculiar voting pattern prompted a wave of questions about the election’s integrity.

“It is illogical that candidates wouldn’t choose themselves; instead, they opted to support others,” Somchai lamented, pushing for an urgent inquiry by the EC to ensure the election’s sanctity wasn’t compromised.

Echoing Somchai’s concerns, several candidates from Khon Kaen also expressed their dissatisfaction and raised doubts about the provincial-level proceedings. Patchara Buaphang, representing professional group 15, which includes the elderly, disabled, and ethnic groups, voiced his dismay. According to Mr. Patchara, more than 20 candidates from his group neither received votes from themselves nor from others, a scenario he found highly suspicious. Particularly striking was the case of an elementary school teacher, relatively unknown, who managed to clinch more district-level votes than most of the contenders.

“I suspect collusion among candidates as the majority of those who progressed were teachers who consistently received more votes throughout the process,” Mr. Patchara told the media. He emphasized his doubts about the election’s transparency and declared his intent to file a complaint with the EC for a thorough and swift investigation.

The director of Khon Kaen’s provincial EC office, Watchara Seesan, asserted that the EC would diligently address each complaint before the national-level elections. The intricate voting process at the district level involved an intra-group election, where the top five candidates in each group advanced to an inter-group election. From there, the top three candidates per group, across 20 groups, were shortlisted for the provincial stage held Sunday. In this inter-group poll, only two candidates from each group would progress to the final national stage to eventually select the top 10 from each group as senators.

Mr. Watchara assured that the EC is committed to investigating whether candidates’ decisions to vote for others rather than themselves pointed towards vote-rigging. He also mentioned that most other complaints revolved around questionable candidate eligibility and misplacement into incorrect professional groups.

As the election saga unfolds, the call for transparency and justice grows louder. The EC’s findings in the days leading up to the national-level contest will undoubtedly shape the future political narrative, with the promise of ensuring a fair and democratic selection process for the esteemed Senate seats.


  1. JohnSmith June 17, 2024

    I can’t believe such blatant irregularities are happening! This must be investigated thoroughly.

    • Emma W June 17, 2024

      Absolutely, John! The integrity of the election process is at stake here.

      • Joe99 June 17, 2024

        Not sure if an investigation would change anything. People in power always get away.

        • JohnSmith June 17, 2024

          Joe99, we have to hope that this time will be different, and the EC will do its job properly.

    • Anna Lee June 17, 2024

      Emma W, investigations take time and resources. Is it really worth it? Politics is corrupt everywhere.

      • David K. June 17, 2024

        Anna, just ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. We need accountability.

      • Emma W June 17, 2024

        Exactly, David! If no one ever pushes for change, corruption continues unchecked.

  2. Tanya June 17, 2024

    The EC has to step up. If they don’t investigate properly, it’s a complete sham.

    • grower134 June 17, 2024

      Tanya, it’s not that simple. The EC might be under immense pressure from higher-ups.

  3. Michael D. June 17, 2024

    Shocking to see candidates not voting for themselves. Something fishy is definitely going on here.

    • Jessica P June 17, 2024

      Michael D., agreed. It’s almost too coincidental. Needs a deep dive.

  4. Alex S June 17, 2024

    Funny how the lesser-known candidates suddenly got tons of votes. Obvious collusion.

    • Lucas94 June 17, 2024

      Alex S, that’s exactly what Somchai is pointing out. EC needs to audit these results closely.

    • Maya L June 17, 2024

      Maybe those lesser-known candidates were just that good? We shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

    • Alex S June 17, 2024

      Maya L, while giving benefit of doubt is fair, patterns like these rightly raise suspicions.

  5. Sophia Yang June 17, 2024

    It’s frustrating to see teachers being pointed at suspiciously. They could just be highly respected in the community.

  6. Tommy June 17, 2024

    Politics is always messy. This is just another example of a flawed system.

    • Alice M June 17, 2024

      Tommy, calling it messy is an understatement. We need reform and transparency.

    • Ken B June 18, 2024

      Totally, Alice. Ignoring corruption won’t solve anything.

    • Tommy June 18, 2024

      Ken B, but how do we ensure real change? The corrupt always find a way.

  7. Rebecca June 17, 2024

    Patchara’s account just shows how deep the rabbit hole might go. We need to keep pushing for investigations.

    • Oscar123 June 17, 2024

      Rebecca, true. His statements add more weight to the need for a probe. No stone should be left unturned.

  8. Sophie P June 17, 2024

    Vote rigging allegations are serious. If proven true, those responsible should be held accountable.

    • Daniel L June 18, 2024

      Sophie P, easier said than done. Often, these investigations lead to dead ends.

  9. Nathan June 18, 2024

    I’ve seen this happen before. Regional elections often have the most corruption because they’re less scrutinized.

    • Emily H June 18, 2024

      Nathan, definitely. Smaller regions think they can get away with more.

    • Marco June 18, 2024

      Nathan, maybe we need more independent observers in these elections.

  10. Christina June 18, 2024

    The EC claims they’ll look into it, but I’m skeptical. They better not be all talk.

    • Leo June 18, 2024

      Christina, let’s give them a chance. If they fail, then we can criticize.

    • Christina June 18, 2024

      Leo, that’s fair. But I won’t hold my breath.

  11. Liam V June 18, 2024

    Seeing the elderly and disabled candidates ignored is particularly disheartening. They deserve fair representation.

    • Amy T June 18, 2024

      Liam V, absolutely. It’s unfair to sideline these vulnerable groups.

  12. Jake T June 18, 2024

    If the EC can address all complaints effectively before the national contest, it will restore some faith in the system.

  13. Oliver June 18, 2024

    Does anyone honestly believe these investigations will lead anywhere? They always get swept under the rug.

    • Victoria June 18, 2024

      Oliver, while that’s often the case, we have to keep demanding accountability.

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