Abhisit’s Controversial Win
We are all innocent until proven guilty, but how far can Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva carry the party forward amid allegations that the primary vote lacked transparency and credibility?
For the first time since Thailand became a constitutional monarchy, the Democrats held a primary vote which drew in votes from party members to dictate who becomes the party leader.
Party members were invited to vote on an online application between November 1-5, but the party also organized physical voting ballots in at least one district for every province nationwide.
The controversy began when the voting period for Bangkok, the central plains and the northern region was postponed from the 1st of November to the 9th of November following a technical issue. Reports suggested that officials who were assigned to set up the Raspberry Pi computer to receive electronic votes forgot to adjust the computer to Thailand’s time and was gridlocked as UK time.
Some voters in several districts also claimed that they were unable to cast their votes due to internet connection problems to Raspberry Pi, and the announcement of the winner was also postponed by one day.
The Democrat party is by no means a small and insignificant party, but what does a mistake at this level say about the party?
Some members also claimed that some were able to vote multiple times, which is inconsistent with the one-member-one-vote policy.
The Election Committee of the Democrat Party claimed that the postponement of results has nothing to do with negotiations between party executives as some sources suggested. There were also complaints that the committee acknowledged was true, regarding a shift in the committee’s officials at 2 polling stations in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.
The election results cemented Abhisit’s continuation as party leader with 67,505 votes after his equally popular challenger Mr. Warong Dechgitvigrom lost with 57,689 votes.
However, the plot of potential rigging persists after Captain Songklot Chuenchupol demanded an investigation of potential malfeasance of Mr. Abhisit on the outcome of the results, submitting photographic evidence and requesting an electronic voting system to be checked.
He said the particular electronic voting system (no. 214) in question was used to submit votes from 25 people who were not members of the Democrat party. After party representatives bashed Captain Songklot for not even being a member, it was later revealed that he in fact was.
There have been reports including Captain Songklot’s claims that up to 32,000 votes were disqualified, of which 26,000 entered their ID numbers more than once and another 6,000 did not properly submit their photographs in the right format.
Whether Abhisit played dirty or not in the primary vote, the number of disqualified votes is over 300% more than the difference between Mr. Abhisit supporters and Mr. Warong supporters.
The public should keep a close eye on this allegation because given his status as a party leader he is a potential candidate for Prime Minister in the 2019 election. He has also voiced opposition on joining hands with both pro-military parties and Thaksin.