CityNews – At 10.30 a.m. on 24th June, at Chiang Mai Provincial Office, over 100 villagers from Ban Pang Kued, Moo 16, Inthakhin protested to Governor Thanin Supasaen about what they have called a prejudiced, corrupt and unjust election for village head in a two-candidate election that took place in January.
Not the first time Mae Taeng politics has been accused of foul play
Ms. Wilasinee, a 44 year-old female candidate in the election revealed that the Mae Taeng District Office ordered Ban Pang Kued to host an election for the new ‘head villager’ on 11th January 2013. The result of the election showed that Mr. Apinan Jamu, the ex-head received 184 votes, followed by Wilasinee who received 183 votes. After the vote count finished, Wilasinee went to the Mae Tang District Office because she thought the vote count had not been transparent, claiming that the Office of the Election Commission of Mae Tang tried to convince and even bribe people to vote for Apinan. When the count finished, the officers taped the vote box firmly shut, but when the district officer checked the box it was clear that the tape had been torn and that someone had tried to tamper with the votes.
On 7th May, the Mae Tang District Chief ordered the two candidates and several witnesses to recount the vote, according to an order given by the Chiang Mai Provincial Office. When they reopened the vote box, it was clear that all the ballots had been neatly placed in the box. The votes had not been placed in this manner before the box was first sealed. Wilasinee strongly believed, therefore, that Apinan had cheated – she couldn’t accept the result of the vote, and that she has lost by only one vote.
On 19th June Apinan was appointed village head. However, 220 villagers readily signed their names in order to deny Apinan of this duty, and protests ensued.
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