EC Lists Politician as Monk in Handbook

A photo of the handbook listing a Chart Thai Pattana Party candidate as a monk.

BANGKOK — An MP hopeful in Bangkok said Friday he was incorrectly identified as a monk in voter’s handbooks distributed nationwide this week.

Plaek Malisee, 75, complained the erroneous information might confuse voters, as monks are not allowed to run in elections. He’s one of several candidates to report baffling errors in their biographies and call on the Election Commission, which produce the materials, to take responsibility.

“I may look bald in the photo, that’s true, but I am not a monk,” said Plaek, who’s running for the Chart Thai Pattana Party in the capital district of Sai Mai. “I will ask the Election Commission how the mistake could have happened.”

Plaek said he did ordain as a monk for 20 years after his wife’s death but left the order and now owns a business.

The information was included in voter information guides distributed by the Election Commission this week.

Other reported errata include a 25-year-old Future Forward candidate identified as a “retired civil servant” despite his age, and a Seri Ruam Thai MP candidate who was somehow identified as belonging to another party.

Overseas voters have complained of numerous voting irregularities, including late ballots and poorly formatted documents which misaligned candidate names and photos with their party names. Election Commissioner Jarungvith Phumma on Thursday apologized for the errors.

A spokesman for the anti-junta Puea Chart Party warned that the Election Commission might face legal consequences for its mismanagement of the poll.

“I’m deeply worried for the EC,” Rayuth Bunthan said at a news conference. “They might be prosecuted in criminal and civil courts. Many of the commissioners are already in their old age. I don’t want them to spend their retirement in prison.”

In 2016, after years of legal battles and appeals, the Supreme Court jailed two former Election Commissioners for two years for incorrectly erecting voting booths and other irregularities during a 2006 snap election.