A corrupt public health minister and convicted felon turned reforming monk after release from prison, reveals vote buying tricks.
Photo shows Phra Rakkiat Sukthana, former public health minister and convicted felon Rakkiat Sukthana, here discussing his life in prison on TV. After being released from prison on parole he lectures prison inmates on the importance of repenting.
Read a previous Bangkok Post article about the "organised sightseeing trips" mentioned in the today's article (See article).
Click button to listen to Sophisticated Vote Buying and rightclick to download
Vote buying 'getting more sophisticated' by Thanida Tansubhapol
Thai politics has never evolved beyond vote buying and during the run-up to the July 3 election, it has become more sophisticated and rampant than ever, speakers at a seminar said yesterday.
Former public health minister Phra Rakkiart Rakkitathammo (known as Rakkiat Sukthana before entering the monkhood) said parties had become wiser about buying votes to avoid detection and they would pull out all the stops in their effort to win as many seats as possible.
Phra Rakkiart said that some parties had promised to pay their supporters for voting for them if they won the most seats in an area.
He said the tactic was not dissimilar to giving away money to voters during an election campaign.
The former public health minister entered the monkhood after he was freed from jail on parole in 2009 after serving nearly five years.
In 2003, the Supreme Court found Mr Rakkiat guilty of amassing unusual wealth and ordered the seizure of 234 million baht worth of assets from him.
The former minister was also convicted of taking a 5 million baht bribe from a pharmaceutical company. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail. He began serving his term in late 2004 after a year in hiding.
Phra Rakkiart yesterday spoke at the "An Exposure of Election Fraud" seminar held at Ramkhamhaeng University.
As a former politician from Udon Thani where vote buying is reportedly rampant, Phra Rakkiart said during the present election campaign canvassers for some MP candidates had adopted a new vote-buying tactic.
"Canvassers sell [candidate] lottery tickets to voters and offer them a big reward if their candidates win in the election," he said."Furthermore the voters are promised a bigger prize if they vote for the party list and the party wins the most list seats.
"This election will be the dirtiest in history," Phra Rakkiart said, adding that election fraud was ingrained in Thai politics and difficult to stamp out.
Based on his experience from earlier campaigns, election committee members in many districts were under the influence of local influential figures.
Some had produced fake ballot papers and circulated them among voters.
Voters get about 1,000 baht each if they use fake ballots to vote for a candidate backed by local influential figures.
Somchai Srisudhiyakorn, director of Sripathum University's Policy Watch Centre, said election fraud was taking place even before the House dissolution.
Mr Somchai said several political parties had organised sightseeing trips for their canvassers to help them drum up support during the campaign. Parties had transferred state officials under their command so they could help canvass for their parties.
"Big political parties don't want to buy votes because if they are found guilty, their parties can be dissolved," he said. "But candidates in each constituency will do it on their own because they think it's a worthwhile investment."
(Source: Bangkok Post, Vote buying 'getting more sophisticated', 23/06/2011, Thanida Tansubhapol, link)
vote buying - when voters may be given money or other rewards for voting in a particular way or not voting (See Wikipedia)
evolve - gradually changing over time and improving
evolved beyond vote buying - changing so that it is not vote buying anymore
sophisticated - more advanced and complex (than others of its kind)
public health - the study of how diseases can be prevented, health promoted and life prolonged through education and other activities in communities (example: vaccines) (See Wikipedia)
public health minister - the highest government official, an elected politician in the Prime Minister's cabinet
convicted felon - a person who has been found guilty of violating a serious criminal law
parole - when a prisoner is released before the end of their jail term, promising to behave well and agreeing to certain conditions and rules (See Wikipedia)
released from prison - allowed to leave jail
freed from jail - same as ""released from jail"
released from prison on parole - allowed to leave jail early (but on parole)
freed from jail on parole - same as "released from prison on parole"
prison inmates - criminals living in prison for punishment for their crimes
repent - when a person feels and says they are sorry for what they have done
run-up to Y - the period before event Y
election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง
sophisticated - complicated and advanced in design or planning ซับซ้อน ที่มีการออกแบบให้ซับซ้อน
rampant - existing, happening or spreading in an uncontrolled way รุกลาม อาละวาด กำเริบ รุนแรงจนควบคุมไว้ไม่ได้
canvass - trying to get support for a candidate or political party in a particular area หาเสียง เรียกคะแนนให้
canvassers - workers who work to get votes for politicians before an election
parties - political parties
detection - the process of proving that something is present
pull out all the stops - everything that can be done (to solve a problem, for example)
effort - an attempt to do something ความพยายาม the energy and enthusiasm that people put into an activity
tactic - a particular method or plan for achieving some goal, a planned way of doing something ยุทธวิธี
election campaign - a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
guilty - proven to have committed a crime by a court of law มีความผิด
wealth - having a large amount of money จำนวนมาก มหาศาล how much money and assets a person or country owns
amassing unusual wealth - gaining more money than is usual for a person in their job or position (sign of corruption)
seizure - the act of taking control of something, especially by using power or force การบุกเข้ายึด
assets - things owned, especially property, stocks, bonds, real estate, and money สินทรัพย์ (See Economist glossary)
convicted - having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิดจริง การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
bribe - money or a present given to someone so that they will help you doing something dishonest or illegal สินบน
pharmaceutical - connected with the production of medicines เกี่ยวกับเภสัชกรรม, เกี่ยวกับยา
term - a period of time ช่วงเวลา
jail term - a period of time that a person spends in jail or prison (as punishment for a crime)
serve jail term - spend a period of time in jail
fraud - the crime of gaining money by lying or tricking (See Wikipedia) การโกง การตุ้มตุ๋น การฉ้อโกง การหลอกลวง เล่ห์เพทุบาย การปลอมแปลง
election fraud - winning an election through tricks or lying (See Wikipedia)
exposure of election fraud - when the public learns about tricks and lies used to win elections (through media stories, for example)
MP - member of parliament, an elected position in parliament
candidate - a person who is trying to win an elected position ผู้สมัคร
reward - something given to a person for their good work, etc รางวัล
party list - a lists of candidates from a party to be elected, parliamentary seats "get allocated to each party in proportion to the number of votes the party receives" (See Wikipedia)
list seat - "a Member of Parliament (MP) who is elected from a party list rather than from a geographical constituency. Their presence in Parliament is owed to the number of votes that their party won, not to votes received by the MP personally. This occurs only in countries which have an electoral system based on party-list proportional representation" (See Wikipedia)
ingrained - habits and beliefs that are difficult to change or end
stamp out - stop, end, eliminate
under the influence of Y - controlled by Y
influence - the power to have an effect on people or things อิทธิพล
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
influential - has power to change and control important decisions
influential figures - powerful people who can control events ที่มีอิทธิพลต่อ
ballot - a piece of paper that people mark with the candidate they are voting for บัตรลงคะแนน
fake - made to look like something real in order to trick people ที่ทำปลอม ปลอมแปลง ปลอม
fake ballot - a ballot that is not real (used to cheat in voting, used in voting fraud)
fake ballot papers - same as "fake ballots"
circulated - going around (more money going around the country)
backed by - supported by ให้การสนับสนุน
dissolution (noun) - officially ending a group or organisation การยุบ the formal act of ending an organisation ยุบ ยุติ
House dissolution - officially ending the currently elected parliament (after which a new election for parliament is held)
dissolved (verb) - (of a group) ended; stop existing ยุบ (พรรค) ที่ถูกยุบ
support - help, by giving money, for example สนับสนุน
drum up support - go around and find people to help you
transferred - changed someone's job or responsibilities โยกย้ายตำแหน่ง
state - government รัฐ
state officials - high level decisionmaking managers in government
X under command Y - X is a person or group (in the military or police) controlled and managed by Y
constituency - the local group of people who elect an MP to parliament; a district or division of a country that elects a representative to parliament
worthwhile - useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made คุ้มค่ากับความพยายาม
investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate)