By Saksith Saiyasombut, in Bangkok
Vote-buying has been an endemic problem popping up in every election in Thailand for some time and has been the prime argument of political parties to discredit their opponents, so much so that whole political parties have been dissolved in legal skirmishes – just ask Thaksin or Newin for example. Just recently there have been accusations of vote-buying yet again, giving some people yet again the chance to sound off that many people are easily lured in by the sight of money.
Now, a friend of mine currently based in Khon Khean in the north-east of the country has recently sent me an anecdote about how his friends deal with the irresistible money-for-vote-problem:
I just talked to a friend yesterday about which party he is going to vote for. He told me about how in his village all candidates walk around and hand out around 300 THB [$10] per person. His parents weren’t at home so they left the money at the neighbors place. When they got back they couldn’t refuse it – and so they found themselves in the dilemma of having accepted money from different parties. But they found a simple solution: they decided they will ทำบัตรเสีย [do a spoiled ballot] by voting for all the candidates that handed out money. And they are not even supporters of the โหวตโน [“vote no”] campaign. :D
Note: This post has been edited to add some translations and correct a typo.