The fierce race to claim victory at Thailand’s general election on Sunday has resulted in more rampant vote buying nationwide, with the average price of vote buying in central provinces higher than in other regions, a survey has revealed.
This time, vote buying was divided into three phases including a period before the candidate registration, during the official election campaign after the election registration and in the final leg of the race, said Mr Sukhum Chaloeysap, director of the Suan Dusit Poll by the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University.
In the first phase, vote buying was aimed purely at boosting the popularity of the political parties and the average price of such vote buying was 300 baht (S$12) per voter per candidate, Mr Sukhum said.
In the second phase, the vote buying price was on average 200 baht per voter per candidate, he said.
The vote buying competition became far more intense in the third phase when the price started from 500 baht. Currently, the average price per voter per candidate has risen to 1,500 baht in the central region constituencies, Mr Sukhum said.
The vote buying prices in the north, north-east and south were equally lower than that of the central region, starting from 300 to 1,200 baht per voter per candidate, Mr Sukhum said, adding that the current average price of vote buying in these regions is 1,200 baht.
The highest price reported in one constituency in the north-east was 1,700 baht per voter per candidate but that was a rare case, he said.
Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum challenged Mr Sukhum to disclose the sources of information obtained by the Suan Dusit Poll. She said she had sent some officers to ask him in person about the evidence of the vote buying mentioned in the survey but Mr Sukhum did not answer their questions.