BP has already written a post looking at the issue of vote buying claims made by supporters of the Suthep rally, but Baker and Pasuk have an op-ed in the Bangkok Post which show the falsehood of the argument that the government lacks legitimacy over the vote buying issue. Key excerpt:

The claim that the current government has no legitimacy because its success at the polls was due to vote-buying has been shouted from the protest stages time and again. It has also been repeated in recent opinion pieces on these pages and is a regular claim of contributors to this paper’s letters page.

Vote-buying has not disappeared. At election time, some candidates still hand out money for fear of being judged “small-hearted” or “ungenerous” if they don’t. But the point is, this money is no longer determining the election result.

At the last general election in July 2011, the pattern of voting was very distinctive. Across large areas of the country, adjacent constituencies gave candidates of the same party victories by very large margins. Across much of the Northeast, Pheu Thai candidates won over 60% of the vote, and Democrats less than 10%. Across the upper North, the Pheu Thai candidates won over 50% and the Democrat around 20%.

Across the South (except for the Muslim-majority far South), Democrat candidates won more than 60% of the vote and the Pheu Thai under 10%.

This pattern is not what you would expect if vote-buying was determining the result. For a start, why would the parties buy far more votes than they needed? When vote-buying did matter 30 years ago, the pattern was very different. What we see from the 2011 pattern is the results of voting on the basis of mass-shared sentiment.

Recent false claims about vote-buying are a key part of the campaign to undermine electoral democracy. The real problem is that more people understand the value of the vote, and are using it in their own interest.

BP: Could not have said that better….