6 June 2024

The Election Commission (EC) has decided to take legal action against Pattana Sapso, a Pheu Thai MP for Sakhon Nakhon, after it found that he had canvassed for votes online during prohibited hours leading up to the May 14 general election.

The EC investigation was conducted after it received a complaint alleging that he had violated sections 70 and 79 of the Election Act of 2018.

The complainant claimed that, on Election Day at 6:55am, Pattana’s Facebook page re-posted an item from the Pheu Thai party’s Facebook page. The post in question included a video clip depicting the election campaign speech by Paetongtarn Shinawatra, a prime ministerial candidate at the time, which was given on May 13th, the eve of the election.

Pattana invited the public to listen to Paetongtarn’s last speech before the election, claiming that her next speech would be a policy speech in Parliament as the prime minister. The election law prohibits any election campaigning from 6pm on the day before the election until midnight on Election Day.

Pattana told the EC investigation team that he may have unintentionally re-posted it and was unaware of how it happened. He argued that he had already posted on his Facebook page on May 13th at 6pm, stating that he would cease online election campaigning from that point, demonstrating his intention to follow the Election law.

The EC found his defence groundless, as Pattana provided no evidence to support it.