From one of New Mandala‘s election watchers in Chachaengsao:
A lot of torn down or desecrated Democrat posters on the highways leading into town but this week there are fresh ones up all over. Right outside of the Rajabhat where I work there is a big Democrat poster as well. Overwhelmingly though there seems to be more visible support for the Local Peua Thai Candidate with trucks driving around blaring “BUR NUNG BUR NUNG BUR NUNG” (number one) as early as 6:30 am. This is deep red territory and has been for a long time.
More importantly though, I would say that I’m most concerned about the teachers and middle-class people that I talk to. I taught a number of teacher training courses this past summer and they all agreed that “No Vote” was the way to go. A vote for anyone else was perceived universally as a vote for corruption. That they see this as a valid way to exercise their democratic franchise is disturbing to me. There are no clean candidates that people openly support or even talk about.
My students…. are woefully unaware and totally unengaged. As university students one might hope that they would be more active but I have to say that my experience concurs completely with the report from the Issan Record about student engagement in Khon Kaen.
According to my girlfriend, vote buying has been scarce in her neighborhood, which is strange in comparison to previous years. Formerly, someone would come around with an initial offering/proposal to determine the households political support and give them a payoff of a few hundred baht and then closer to the election date would return with another payment that depended on the status of the household. There has been some emphasis this year on clean elections and there is a rumor circulating that politicians caught vote buying will actually face consequences but this remains to be seen.