BANGKOK, Jan 13 (Bernama) — Three candidates from the People’s Power Party (PPP) retained their seats as expected in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima in by-elections ordered by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) after the trio were accused of electoral fraud in the Dec 23 election.
Unofficial results showed Boonlert Krutkhuntod obtaining the highest number of votes, more than 90,000, followed by Prasert Chanruangthong with about 88,000 votes and Linda Cherdchai with 84,000.
They had won the three available seats in Constituency 3 of the province, about 260km from the capital, but were given the yellow card by the ECT for alleged vote-buying. Some constituencies have three seats and others two, depending on the size of the electorate.
Under the ECT election rules, candidates given the yellow card can re-contest in by-election while those who receive the red card will be disqualified and cannot do so.
The Nakhon Ratchasima province is a stronghold of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra whose Thai Rak Thai party was dissolved by the court last year. But his supporters regrouped and formed the PPP.
The Thai election, held 15 months after the September 19 2006 coup, saw PPP winning 233 seats but short of the 241 required to form the government on its own. It could lose more following the disqualification of its four candidates.
The ECT has given the red card to four candidates from the PPP, two from Chart Thai and one from Matchimathipataya for vote-buying, which bars them from contesting the by-elections. Dozens of others were given the yellow card.
More by-elections are scheduled for January 20.