9 June 2024

Election officials in Chiang Mai disqualified a senatorial hopeful this morning, after she failed to show up in time to register her candidacy. She claimed that she had initially gone to the wrong venue.

The 68-year-old candidate, whose name was withheld, said she misunderstood that the venue would be the Mae Rim district office, but it was actually at Maerimwittayakom School.

When she arrived at the school, she was told by an official that registration, from 8am to 9am, had closed.

She insisted to reporters that she arrived at 9am, but the official did not allow her to enter the building. “I’m very disappointed,” she said.

Meanwhile In Bangkok’s Pathumwan district, former Special Branch officer Santhana Prayoonrat and former advisor to the House committee on legal affairs and human rights, Sonthiya Sawasdee, automatically progressed to the next stage this afternoon, because there are fewer than five candidates in their background groups.

Several other candidates also sailed through to the next stage for the same reason.

In Bangkok’s Lak Si district, Dr Rienthong Nanna, director of the Mongkut Wattana Hospital, also passes through to the next because there were fewer than five candidates in his background group.

The selection process for 200 new senators kicked off today with district-level intra-group elections, in which candidates in each of the 20 specified background groups vote for candidates from among themselves. The five with the most votes will enter the next stage, which will take place this afternoon.

If there are five or fewer candidates in any of the groups, they will automatically move on to the next stage.

In the next stage, the successful candidates from all background groups will be merged and can vote for candidates from other background groups. The three candidates in each background group who garner the most votes will be declared winners of the district-level elections and will progress to the provincial round.

After that, district election officials will announce the names of the candidates who pass the district-level. The name lists will be sent to provincial election officials.

The atmosphere at most polling units across the country this morning was peaceful but active, due to restrictions imposed by the Election Commission (EC), such supporters not being allowed to cheer for their candidates or display posters in the polling unit compounds.

Official results of today’s rounds of intra- and inter-group voting will be announced at 5pm, at the Office of the Election Commission by EC Secretary-General Sawaeng Boonmee.

The new batch of senators will be elected in this complicated three-level selection process; district, provincial and national. All voting is done by the candidates themselves. There is no plebiscite for the selection of Senators in Thailand.