BANGKOK — An activist on Wednesday was calling for Thais to help him relieve the Election Commission officials – via paper petition.
After a Sunday general election with widespread allegations of irregularities, in which pro-junta Phalang Pracharath party won the popular vote but not the most seats, activist Tanawat Wongchai asked Thais to sign the petition and submit it to the anti-corruption commission.
“Even if they don’t do anything, society will see clearly how the junta and these so-called independent organizations are linked and how useless their work is,” Tanawat said by phone, referring to the Election Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Tanawat posted the public petition on his Facebook Wednesday, calling for at least 20,000 submissions – the Senate is required by law to forward the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
If the commission finds sufficient evidence, then the Senate will convene a session to decide whether the accused officials should be removed. The next Senate will be fully appointed by the junta.
Tanawat said he’s already received hundreds of submissions, adding that after receiving legal advice, he and his friends decided to have a paper petition instead of one on Change.org.
Public outcry has been harsh since Sunday’s elections and its alleged irregularities. Citizens reported seeing election officials void ballots for parties other than Phalang Pracharath, despite being marked the same. Gadfly petitioner Srisuwan Janya said Wednesday he will file a similar petition for the voided ballots sent from Thais living in New Zealand.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Thammasat University Student Union issued a statement saying commission officials had to be investigated because their “sloppy procedures resulted in ambiguous election results.”
Tanawat, 20, is an outspoken anti-junta activist. He said plainclothes police followed him after he heckled Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, and was banned from reading a Time article about the junta leader out loud at his university.