22 June 2024

Several well-known political figures were among 4,642 people who registered their senatorial candidacy on the first day of registration yesterday, which was disrupted computer issues for a few hours, delaying the registration process.

Among the big names registering yesterday were former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat in Chiang Mai, former Thai Rak Thai MP Chakraphan Yomchinda in Rayong and former Khlong Toei slum crusader Prateep Ungsongtham in Bangkok.

The computer problem meant that each applicant took about four hours to complete the registration process.

Traisuree Traisoranakul, spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry, denied that the ministry’s computer system “broke down”, saying that the system was slow because so many people tried to upload their files simultaneously. She added that the disruption was fixed quickly.

Registration of candidacy in several provinces was reported to be sluggish, as only a handful of hopefuls turned up, despite the large number of application forms issued.

Itthiporn Boonpracong, chairman of the Election Commission (EC), told all candidates to adhere to the law and to refrain from colluding to get elected.

Registration of candidacies will last until this Friday.

Meanwhile, the EC has issued a list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” for senatorial candidates.

Candidates can introduce themselves to the public by completing their profiles, adding their photos and details of which of the 20 occupational groups they represent on two A4-size sheets of paper. These profiles can also be posted online for public access.

Other means of publicising themselves, including via print and broadcast media, at entertainment venues, in leaflets or by giving interviews, are prohibited.

Each candidate can apply in only one district and represent only one of the 20 occupational groups, failing that they could face a year in prison and/or a fine of 20,000 baht upon conviction. The may also have their election rights withdrawn for five years.

Those who knowingly register their candidacy when they are not qualified could face a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 200,000 baht upon conviction. They may also have their voting rights withdrawn for 20 years.

Those who take bribes to or not to register their candidacy could face imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to 200,000 baht upon conviction.

The taking of communication devices, visual or audio recording devices into the polling booths is also prohibited.

Candidates are not allowed to take ballots out of the polling booths, use other ballots in the voting or damage ballots.