Registration for candidates closed on Nov 6, with five candidates entering the race to be elected PPAO President, including popular local politicians Jirayut Songyot of the Khon Baan Rao Party, Rewat Areerob of the Phuket Yatdai Party and Mr Sorawut Palimapunt of the Phuket Progressive Movement Party.
In total, 77 people registered their candidacy for being elected to the PPAO Council.
Incumbent Acting Chief of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) Watcharin Patomwatthanapong has announced that he will not register his candidacy to contest the position of PPAO President in the upcoming PPAO election.
Passakon Siripakayapon, Director of the Phuket office of the Election Commission (PEC), yesterday warned the candidates that breaching the campaign rules may result in disqualification.
“The laws regulating local elections limits canvassing in many ways,” Mr Passakon explained yesterday at the Phuket office of Radio Thailand, which is operated by the Public Relations Department.
“There should not be any incentives offered by any means to induce people to choose, or not to elect, a candidate, or promises made to take specific action against organisations, associations, clubs, temples, and foundations,” he said.
Campaign regulations also specifically prohibited “campaigning with deception” or “coercion”, Mr Passakorn said, adding that even providing free catering as part of a canvassing event was prohibited.
“And most importantly, government officials, do not do anything to support your own choice of candidate, or to punish any other candidate, or else you may face punishment under Section 34 [of the Election Act],” he said.
“We are asking the media to publicise this information to the public to help make the election proceed smoothly, without violating election law, and so that people are careful to not commit any offenses under election law,” Mr Passakorn explained.
“Be ready to express your highest right [in a democracy] by exercising your rights, and if you have any questions you can enquire at the Office of the Election Commission of Phuket,” he said.
Suwanrak Thongsai, Director of the Phuket branch of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), explained that radio and television broadcasts were not forbidden.
However, he cautioned, “All relevant laws must be observed, especially those regarding broadcasting, either as a form of community service or for business purposes, or as a public service.
“The broadcasts can be performed to support the mission of this local election only,” he said.