I swear: no vote-buying in the upcoming election

20 11 2007

i-swear.jpgEverything is possible in this colourful Thailand. Lately, Thai Election Commission came up with an idea on how to promote clean election and to combat vote-buying in the upcoming election on 23rd December 2007. Apart from the imposition of strict campaign rules, leaders and candidates from political parties were required to take an oath at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside Bangkok’s Grand Palace and in seven other cities across the country on 15 November that they would not breach election law in next month’s elections. Breaking an oath made before the most sacred Buddha image is believed to result in bad karma. However, I just wonder whether taking an oath before the Emerald Buddha can really prevent vote-buying. How could the Election Commission in the modern Thailand come up with this nonsense and ridiculous idea. Instead of asking the leaders and candidates of the political parties to participate in such ceremony, the EC should provide education to voters on how to vote and on their voting rights. How many people do not know about next month’s election? Many is a definite answer. Until today, people are still asking when is an election? Among the people who know, how many of them understand the changes of their constituencies under the new constitution?

Today if you accept to sell or buy votes, the buyers could face up to 10 years in prison while vote sellers who accept money face jail terms of between one and five years. Even with tougher election law, vote-buying will never go away especially in the rule areas. Giving a clean election a top priority is never enough, the EC needs also to provide clear information and education to the public.




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