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Thailand

In law
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In practice
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The political finance situation in Thailand is currently complicated by the ongoing political crisis, in which the Constitution and other legislation were suspended indefinitely. According to the Constitution, parties are entitled to direct public funding. In practice, that funding was distributed in early 2014, but then returned to the authorities after the Constitution's suspension. Parties also, in law, receive free air time for advertising. However, the turmoil in Thailand affected the distribution of advertising slots, resulting in a less than equitable situation. The legal framework sets forth several restrictions on contributions, and also limits the amount that can be spent during elections. Some financial information must be reported: parties and candidates must submit post election financial reports, and parties must file additional reports annually. In practice, the submitted reports contain some information on contributors. Some of that data is then published online in pdf formats, but not all of it is accessible to the public. The independent political activities of third parties actors are not regulated in Thailand. The Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) is charged with oversight of political finance. In practice, appointees to the ECT are not chosen on merit, nor is their independence protected. Nevertheless, the body does have a substantial staff and budget, and conducted several investigations into potential violations in the wake of the 2014 elections. Sanctions imposed by the ECT are typically respected.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
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        MODERATE
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        Thai political parties are legally entitled to receive an annual state subsidy from the Election Commission to support their activities, including campaigns. This subsidy is allocated by the Election Commission to all political parties "which have stood candidates at the latest general election of members of the House of Representatives and have received votes on a party-list basis equivalent to not less than zero point five per cent (0.5%) of the aggregate of votes cast for all political parties in the party-list election, or have received votes on a constituency basis equivalent to not less than zero point five per cent (0.5%) of the aggregate of nationwide votes cast for all candidates in the constituency election." (Article 75)

        Thai taxpayers can also contribute up to 100 baht (3.2 USD) per year through the "indication of intent" on their tax return form, according to Section 58. This money is also distributed by the EC's Political Party Development Fund.

        New political parties were also entitled to receive a subsidy after they have organized membership enrolment and gained "not less than five thousand members which, at a minimum, shall be from each region according to the list of regions and provinces published by the Registrar, and the political party shall have at least one branch in each region" (Article 26) and have "nominated candidates for the election of members of the House of Representatives." (Article 75)

        Individual candidates are not entitled to receive public funding.

        However, on 22 May 2014, the Thai military seized power in a coup, abrogating the country's 2007 constitution and dissolving parliament. Although electoral and political party laws remain in effect according to the Election Commission, political parties are currently banned from engaging in political activities and receiving any kind of public funding.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Part 4 of an Organic Act on Political Parties 2007 stated that state subsidy (fund for party development) could be used in various activities including electoral campaigning.

        Now that military seized the power and the constitution was abolished, the Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) no. 57/2557(2014) states that "2. The Organic Act on Political Parties B.E. 2550 (2007) continues to be valid until further amendment or nullification. Furthermore, in order to maintain peace and order, all existing political parties are prohibited from holding meetings or undertaking any political activity; the establishment or registration of prospective political parties shall be temporarily suspended; the allocation of monetary aid to political parties from the Fund for the Development of Political Parties shall also be temporarily suspended. The Election Commission shall be consulted should there be any questions."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Article 74-78, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Email Correspondence with the Election Commission of Thailand, August 27, 2014.

        Thai PBS, "Junta partially restores elections and political party laws", June 9, 2014. http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/junta-partially-restores-elections-political-party-laws/

        Ministry of foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Reviewer's sources: NCPO annoucement no. 57/2557 (10 June 2014) http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/announcement-2/item/83931-id83931.html

        In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014 Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014

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        2
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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        Thai political parties are currently banned from engaging in political activities and/or receiving public funding to support these activities. However, under law there are provisions for the direct public funding of political parties. Section 75 of the Organic Act on Political Parties specifies that annual subsidies are allocated to political parties based on the principle of proportionality. It states: "The Election Commission shall distribute the subsidy to entitled political parties by allocating forty per cent (40%) of the total amount of the subsidy according to the number of votes obtained from an election on a party-list basis, forty per cent (40%) of the subsidy according to the number of votes obtained from an election on a constituency basis, ten per cent (10%) of the subsidy according to the number of branches of a political party that meet the requirements prescribed by the Election Commission, and ten per cent (10%) of the subsidy according to the number of active members who paid annual subscription fees, under the rules and procedures prescribed by the Election Commission. No one political party shall receive more than half of the total allocation granted in a year."

        A new political party is entitled to receive a subsidy only "after it has completed all operations under Section 26 (see below) and nominated candidates for the election of members of the House of Representatives". Critics say this system favours established political parties such as the Democrats, while newer parties, including the Pheu Thai party, are treated unfairly.

        Section 26 explicates that: "Within one year from the date that the Registrar acknowledges the formation of a political party, such political party must organize membership enrolment and gain not less than five thousand members which, at a minimum, shall be from each region according to the list of regions and provinces published by the Registrar, and the political party shall have at least one branch in each region."

        As noted in indicator #1, this funding is annual funding for parties, and no direct public funding is provided for candidate campaigns, but only general funding for parties, who are able to use this funding for election campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 75 of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order", June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Thai PBS, "Junta partially restores elections and political party laws", June 9, 2014, http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/junta-partially-restores-elections-political-party-laws/

        Email correspondence with the Election Commission of Thailand, August 27, 2014

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        3
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        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        In theory, Thai political parties should receive public funding according to the mechanisms outlined in the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007. In practice, exceptions exist, as Thailand's ongoing political crisis has resulted in the abolition of the 2007 constitution and suspension of political party finance mechanisms.

        The last distribution of funding was made in early 2014. All 74 Thai political parties have returned the funding as requested by the ECT.

        Following Thailand's most recent national elections, held in February 2014 and later annulled by the Constitutional Court, the Election Commission (EC) ruled that all parties who participated in the poll must return any funding received, since political activities are currently banned by the junta.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. All distributed funds have been returned to the EC since the constituion was abolished.The ECT is now considering to distribute some funds to the political parties - but only in the part of "Operational Cost" - (salary, rent, utilities) so that the parties could continues their routine operation that were not barred from the NCPO.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        Bangkok Post, "EC demands refund from parties", June 3, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/413391/ec-demands-refund-from-parties

        The Nation, "Pheu Thai wants an answer from EC on poll", June 20, 2014. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Pheu-Thai-wants-an-answer-from-EC-on-poll-30231827.html

        Thai PBS, "Junta partially restores elections and political party laws", June 9, 2014, http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/junta-partially-restores-elections-political-party-laws/

        Email interview with Chintana Srinukoon, PR Manager at the ECT, Tuesday 14 October 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: NCPO annoucement no. 57/2557 (10 June 2014) http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/announcement-2/item/83931-id83931.html

        In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014. Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014.

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Acccording to the ECT, the most recent disbursements were made in 2014. This information was susequently released through the broadcast and print media as well as made available at the ECT's offices in 77 provinces within one month.

        The Election Commission has a website dedicated to the Political Party Development Fund, where it publishes annual data and information. Citizens can obtain details about the annual state subsidy, which is distributed by the EC, as well as contributions from the general public, which are allocated through the "indication of intent" on Thai citizens' annual tax return form. There is also a summary of total funding received since the formation of the fund in 1999. However, the information is currently out of date, with the most recent data available from the year 2012 (Thai calendar year 2555).

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        The Election Commission of Thailand website, accessed on September 26, 2014. http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=fdp&SiteMenuID=10028

        Email correspondence with the Election Commission of Thailand via Chintana Srinukoon, PR Manager, September 4, 2014

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
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        YES
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        Section 71 of the Organic Act on Political Parties states that "no government unit, State agency, juristic person which is a State enterprise under the law on budgetary procedure, public organization, enterprise of which the State is a major shareholder nor other juristic person provided for in the Notification of the Election Commission shall make a donation to a political party."

        Section 181 of Thailand's (now defunct) 2007 constitution also stipulates that outgoing cabinets ''shall not exploit the State's resources or manpower in a way that affect the results of the next election.'' Although the Thai junta has since disbanded this legislation, it still applies retroactively to events that occurred before May 22. Subsequently, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is currently being investigating for misusing public funds during the February 2014 elections under this provision.

        Additionally, Section 57 of the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators states: "No state official shall exercise duties to be favorable or disfavorable to a candidate or a political party."

        "The provisions in paragraph one shall not include the performance of duty in an ordinary course of position of such state official for the advice of or the assistance in an election of a candidate or a political party which is not relevant to the performance of regular duties, regardless of whether such act may be favorable or disfavorable to any candidate or political party."

        "In the case where there appears the convincing evidence of any violation of the provisions of paragraph one, the Election Commission shall, if deems that any act may be favorable or disfavorable to any candidate or political party, have the power to order such state official to cease or suspend the act thereof. For this purpose, the Election Commission shall notify the superior of such official to order that such official shall vacate the office temporarily or shall attach to any ministry, sub-ministry, department, Changwat office or Amphoe office inside or outside the constituency or to prohibit such person to enter into a constituency."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Section 71 of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        The Constitution of Thailand, 2007, http://www.isaanlawyers.com/constitution%20thailand%202007%20-%202550.pdf

        Section 57 of the The Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        The Bangkok Post, "Yingluck, former ministers face fresh allegations", July 28, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/422872/yingluck-former-ministers-face-another-allegation

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        75
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The Pheu Thai party faced various allegations of abusing power and state resources during the last election. For example, Yingluck was accused of violating the 2007 Constitution and election laws by making a televised speech about her party's controversial rice pledging scheme in February. She is also being investigated for allegedly abusing state resources to campaign for office in northern Thailand in the run-up to the elections. However, critics say these allegations are politically motivated and there is little credible evidence to back them.

        One of the few examples of a firmly documented abuse is the case of incumbent MPs and candidates that were invited to a public media program, and used that space to campaign in excess of the legally stipulated requirements imposed by the ECT.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In practice, state resources are typically used in favor of an incumbent party in various ways. These include aiding in finding a spot to campaign to the crowd, and providing electric, water, mobile toilets for the public. Moreover, sometimes the police and other agency-involoved who in charge of preventing vote buying may turn their eye in the other way when it comes to the district of the party incumbent. However, there is no empirical evidence or paper trail to prove such acts.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        The Voting News, "Prime Minister’s speech on rice scheme breach of election law, petitioners tell EC | Bangkok Post", February 20, 2014. http://thevotingnews.com/prime-ministers-speech-on-rice-scheme-breach-of-election-law-petitioners-tell-ec-bangkok-post/

        The Bangkok Post, "Yingluck, former ministers face fresh allegations", July 28, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/422872/yingluck-former-ministers-face-another-allegation

        Post Today, "16 MP candidates campaigned illegally, says the ECT," March 12, 2014. http://m.posttoday.com/articlestory.php?id=283188

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

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        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Thai political parties are legally entitled to receive an equal amount of free air time during election campaign periods.

        According to the Organic Law on Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators, the EC is responsible for "prescribing rules and time for a political party to run an election campaign through the radio and television broadcasting or to be on air through the radio and television broadcasting which shall afford equal opportunities to every political party."

        Political parties also receive free air time twice annually outside of election campaigns, according to the Act on Political Parties. This air time is calculated on a proportional basis.

        Section 79 of the Political Parties Act states that every political party "which has a candidate elected as a member of parliament" is entitled to free airtime on state-run radio and/or television.

        "In allocating such airtime, consideration will be given to the number of each political party’s members in the House of Representatives, in order that each political party may report its activities not less than twice a year free of charge under the rules and procedures prescribed by the Election Commission."

        Part 4 of Notification No. 3 published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette by the ECT states that: An allocation of the time slot for political parties to air: (1) A campaign advertising on Party’s Policies – each State-run TV and Radio station will allocate time to every party at least 3 times per day / each time will not exceed 30 seconds (2) Broadcast to announce Party’s Policies – each State-run TV and Radio station will allocate time to every party at least 3 times / each time will not exceed 10 minutes

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 79, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007 (Unofficial translation), http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        The Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Notification #14, Electoral Commission of Thailand, Published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, published May 9, 2011. http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=phichit&SiteMenuID=7702

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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Free air time is usually allocated equally to all political party candidates during a national election. However, since the February 2014 election was uncontested and took place during a period of severe political turmoil in Thailand, this did not happen. Indeed, a state-run TV channel was later reprimanded for giving airtime to the Pheu Thai party, which the EC described as unfair to other candidates.

        Some free air time was distributed to candidates at the constituency level. (Usually, MPs receive 2 minutes of air time each at the provincial/constituency level, while each political party receives 20 minutes each at the party-list level. In the last elections, distributions were only made to some candidates at the provincial level). However, the Democrat Party refused to participate nationwide and no air time was distributed at the party-list level.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        The Nation, "EC to probe Pheu Thai candidates' TV shows", March 14, 214, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/EC-to-probe-Pheu-Thai-candidates-TV-shows-30229192.html

        Email correspondence with the Election Commission of Thailand via Chintana Srinukoon, PR Manager, September 4, 2014

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        9
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        Cash contributions are allowed by law, although section 63 stipulates that "the Leader and the Treasurer of the political party shall deposit it at a commercial bank ... within seven days of the date of receiving the donation, and issue a receipt of donation to the donor."

        "Donations of twenty thousand baht (THB 20,000 or 621 USD) or more shall be done by bill of exchange or crossed cheque," says Section 57.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 63, 57, Organic Law on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        10
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        NO
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        The identity of contributors making donations over THB 5,000 (156 USD) must be disclosed to the party -- by Section 55 of the Law on Political Parties, this regulation applies to candidates as well as parties. However, donations received during fund-raising events may be made anonymously up to THB 100,000 (3092 USD), and can be recorded simply as general revenue.

        According to Section 54 of the Law on Political Parties, "A political party’s fund-raising activities must be conducted openly and with clear objectives. At such activities, the money, property or other benefits of financial value gained from supporters and valued at one hundred thousand baht (THB 100,000) (currently 3092 USD) or more, shall be classified as donations."

        "Upon completion of a fund-raising activity, the political party shall submit a report, recording the revenue obtained and the activity, to the Registrar within thirty days of the date of the activity."

        "The report under paragraph two shall record the names of each financial supporter who donated one hundred thousand baht (THB 100,000) (currently 3092 USD) or more at the activity."

        According to Section 56, "Under the provision of Section 54 paragraph three, donations of one thousand baht (THB 100,000) or more to a political party require the disclosure of donors’ names for examination."

        According to Section 57, "a donation to a political party of five thousand baht (THB 5,000 or 156 USD) or more must be done publicly in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed by the Election Commission," which require their names to be disclosed.

        Section 60 explains that: "Where there is a donation to a political party, the Leader of the political party shall, each week, prepare an announcement accurately detailing the donors’ names, and donated money, property or any other benefit of financial value."

        Section 62 notes, "Under the provisions of Section 54 paragraph three, Section 56 paragraph one, and Section 57 paragraph one, the Leader of a political party shall ensure the preparation of a donation receipt account which shall contain the following particulars: (1) every donor’s name, address, amount of money, property or any other benefit of financial value donated; (2) date of donation; (3) copy of donation receipt."


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Donations received during fund-raising events that are in excess of 100,000 THB, must be reported as revenue, and the source of that donation must be reported. Donations classified simply as donations (received outside of fund-raising events) must be disclosed, including the identity of contributors, if the donation is in excess of 5000 THB.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Report of the International Election Observation Mission by The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), http://anfrel.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/ThaiEOMReportEdit4-final_edit.pdf

        The Election Commission Law, http://www.thailaws.com/

        Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Reviewer's sources: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014. Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014.

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        11
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        The Organic Act on Political Parties 2007 Section 4 defines 'donations' as the "giving of money, property or any other benefit of financial value to a political party for the purpose of enabling the political party to carry out its activities." By Section 55, the same regulations apply to candidates.

        All donations exceeding the value of 5,000 baht (156 USD), whether monetary or in-kind, must be reported to the Election Commission.

        "When a political party has received money, property or any other benefit of financial value as a donation, this shall be recorded in the donation receipt account of political party within fifteen days of the date of receiving the donation," explains Section 60.

        "Where there is a donation to a political party, the Leader of the political party shall, each week, prepare an announcement accurately detailing the donors’ names, and donated money, property or any other benefit of financial value. The aforesaid announcement shall be publicly posted by the first working day of the next week at the head office of the political party for not less than fifteen days, and sent to the Registrar within seven days of the date the announcement is made public."

        Section 62 notes, "Where the donation is giving, or allowing to be used, property or any other benefit of financial value, the value shall be calculated according to the normal rent or commercial remuneration rates in each locality or a value of right before being entered in the account. If the value cannot be calculated, the details of the property or any other benefit shall be specified comprehensively and clearly."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Sections 4, 57-62, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        12
        Score
        NO
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Section 4 of the Organic Act on Political Parties explains that donations encompass both money and “any other benefit of financial value”, including "charge-free discharge or reduction of debt", "interest-free lending" and "fee-free guarantee". All these donations must be reported to the Election Commission. However, there is no mention of reporting requirements for non-subsidized loans. By Section 55 of the same law, the same requirements apply to candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 4, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
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        13
        Score
        YES
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Under Thai law, individuals are forbidden from making donations exceeding a certain amount to any one political party per year.

        "A natural person or a juristic person shall not make a donation exceeding ten million baht (THB 10,000,000 or 311,139 USD) per year to one particular political party," says Section 59 of the Organic Act on Political Parties. By Section 55 of the same law, these regulations also apply to donations to candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 59, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        YES
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Corporations are not allowed to contribute more than a maximum amount to any one political party per year under Thai law.

        "A natural person or a juristic person shall not make a donation exceeding ten million baht (THB 10,000,000) per year to one particular political party" states Section 54 of the Organic Act on Political Parties.

        "Before a juristic person makes a donation of five million baht (THB 5,000,000) or more to a political party, the juristic person must receive approval or ratification by resolution from its shareholders’ meeting or from its members."

        By Section 55 of the same law, these regulations also apply corporate contributions to candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 54, The Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Ministry of foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

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        15
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        YES
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        Thai law explicitly forbids political parties and individual candidates from accepting donations from foreign individuals or juristic persons. Section 69 of the Organic Act on Political Parties states:

        "No political party shall receive a donation for carrying out its political activities from:

        (1) a person not of Thai nationality; (2) a juristic person under the law of a foreign country carrying out its business or activities or having its registered branch in or outside the Kingdom; (3) a juristic person registered in the Kingdom consisting of persons not being of Thai nationality who hold share capital or hold more than fifty per cent of shares. In the case of a public company limited listed on The Stock Exchange of Thailand, the consideration under this subsection shall apply prior to the date of donation by using the date a shareholding was acquired according to the public firm’s shareholder registration book at The Stock Exchange of Thailand; (4) an organization or juristic person receiving capital or supporting money from a foreign country, and having an objective to carry out any activity for the benefit of persons not being of Thai nationality or having a manager or a member of its executive committee who is not a person of Thai nationality; (5) a person, organization or juristic person receiving a donation with a view to carrying out the activities of a political party or any political activity from a person, organization or juristic person under (1), (2), (3) or (4);"

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 69, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        16
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        YES
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        Section 59 of the Organic Act on Political Parties says: "A natural person or a juristic person shall not make a donation exceeding ten million baht (THB 10,000,000) per year to one particular political party." This provision includes third-party actors as they fall into the category of juristic persons, although they are not explicitly mentioned. By Section 55 of the same law, these regulations also apply to third party contributions to candidates.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 59, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        17
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        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        By law, there is a maximum amount that parties can spend during an election campaign.

        Section 50 of the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators stipulates that: "In each election of Members of the House of Representatives, the Election Commission shall issue a Notification determining the electoral expenditure as follows:

        (1) the amount of the expenditure of each candidate in an election on a constituency basis; (2) the amount of the expenditure of a political party in an election on a party-list basis in a party-list election constituency. In the case where a candidate on a party list of any political party has spended any amount of expenses for the purpose of an election, such amount shall be included in the expenditure of the political party. .... A candidate or a political party shall not spend in an election an amount exceeding the amount of expenditure determined under paragraph one."

        Section 51 of the Organic Act on Political Parties states: "The Executive Committee of a political party must ensure that, in an election, the political party and its candidates do not spend expenses more than the amount determined under the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and Senators."

        The EC has set the expenditure limit at 1.5 million baht (46,875 USD) per candidate in one of its regulations.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. There is an ETC notification on spending limits" the limit is 1.5 Million THB (for the House of Representative - district candidate).

        For the list candidate, the limit is calculated from the amount of party list' candidates of each party in the list multiply by 1.5 Million THB (see no.5 in the notification).

        http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=phichit&SiteMenuID=7702

        For senate,please see page 4-7 of the file you can down load from this link, click on No.12.

        You will see that spending limit is vary according to the size of each province from 1 million THB for the smaller size provinve, 2-3 Million THB for medium size province, and 5 million THB for large size province. See:

        http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=pattani&SiteMenuID=12162

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 50 of the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Section 51 of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Reviewer's sources: ECT Notification, Published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, May 24, 2011 http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=phichit&SiteMenuID=7702

        ECT Notification, Published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, March 5, 2014 http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=pattani&SiteMenuID=12162

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        18
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        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        Local and national elections are regulated by different legal frameworks. National elections are regulated by the Organic Act on the Election of Members of a Local Assembly or Local Administrators (2008), while local elections are governed by the Organic Act on the Election of Members of a Local Assembly or Local Administrators (2002). The Election Commission of Thailand is responsible for overseeing elections at both levels, although local candidates report to the provincial rather than the central election commission.

        Political parties are obligated to submit financial reports on their election campaign expenses within 90 days of an election. Expenses are not allowed to exceed the limit set by the Election Commission. The precise reporting rules and regulations are published in the Government Gazette. One notable difference is that the EC provides public funding for parties competing in national elections. But no significant problems were reported to have arisen as a result of having two different regulatory frameworks. The Political Parties Act, which requires parties to report on their finances on an annual basis, applies to both the national and sub-national levels.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. It is important to understand the nature of sub-national election in Thailand. Most of the candidates are running as an independent candidate or political group instead of running as party's candidate. So, the second paragraph of the research comment may not always be applicable.

        The Law on the Election of Members of a Local Assembly or Local Administrators Act states in Part 6 No. 54 that limit on campaign spending will be set by provincial election commissioner, which candidates cannot exceed. Thus, the limit spending for each province varies. The link below is an example of Yasothon province - for the limit and details about submission of report.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Election of Members of a Local Assembly or Local Administrators Act B.E. 2545 (Only available in Thai), http://www.thailandlawyercenter.com/index.php?lay=show&ac=article&Id=538973883&Ntype=19

        The Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: Law on the Election of Members of a Local Assembly or Local Administrators Act B.E. 2545 from the ECT, 2002. http://www.ect.go.th/th/?page_id=448

        Regulation on Local Election Costs, Yasothon Province Electoral Commission, n.d. http://www2.ect.go.th/about.php?Province=yasothon&SiteMenuID=4392

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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Thai political parties receive most of their funding for their electoral campaigns from the political party development fund. The income from the fund fluctuates annually according to each party's political influence and parliamentary seats, which means that newer and/or smaller parties receive significantly less financial support from the state. This has had a significant impact on the Pheu Thai party and other pro-Thaksin parties formed since the dissolution of his original party, Thai Rak Thai, in 2006.

        In the 2011 election, the Pheu Thai party received 24 million baht (750,000 USD) from the political party development fund and 108,690.00 (3,397 USD) baht from private donations. The Democrat Party received all its election campaign funding (71,910,000.00 baht or 2.2 million USD) from the party development fund.

        Indeed, the Democrat Party, which was formed in 1946, has received a steadier stream of income from the state fund over the years. According to figures published by the Election Commission, the Democrats received ?710,438,937.56 (USD 22 million) between 1999 and 2012 -- the largest contribution received by any political party -- even though it has not won an election since 1992. The Pheu Thai party, which ruled from 2011-2014, has received ?41,935,060.00 (USD 1,3 million) since its formation in 2008.

        However, it is widely believed that political parties under-report on both their election campaign expenditure and donations. In 2010, the Democrat party narrowly escaped being dissolved by the Constitutional Court after allegedly receiving an illegal donation worth 258 million baht (USD8,067,549) from the cement company, TPI Polene, and misusing 29 billion baht (USD896,307) in public money for electoral expenses.

        Thaksin-affiliated parties (including Thai Rak Thai, the People's Power Party and the Pheu Thai Party) are known to have relied heavily on private income and donations in previous elections. Thaksin Shinawatra, who was Prime Minister of Thailand from 2001-2006, is a self-made telecoms billionaire and business tycoon, who has personally financed various political activities and campaigns. Thaksin currently lives in self-imposed exile after being deposed in a military coup and prosecuted for corruption.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Wolfgang Sachsenröder, "Political Party Finances in Southeast Asia: AreThere Any Signs of Normative Development?", 2013, http://www.academia.edu/4364178/PartyFundingandPartyFinancesinSoutheast_Asia

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        The Democrat Party website, accessed on 24 September 2014, http://www.democrat.or.th/th/about/finance/

        The Allocation of Funds, Political Party Development Fund, The Election Commission of Thailand website, http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=fdp&SiteMenuID=10028

        The Economist, "Party on", November 29, 2010, http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2010/11/thailandspoliticalparties

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), The Democrat Party, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/m6jkpefv10001pm/Thailand-28-10668-391.docx?dl=0

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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        Political parties are known to routinely ignore the election campaign expenditure limits imposed by the EC. For several years, the ceiling has been placed at 1.5 million baht per candidate, but according to the monitoring agency Anfrel in their 2011 report, it is "widely believed to be disregarded by almost all candidates".

        Thai political parties self-report on their donations, which makes it easier for them to conceal illicit payments. However, news about financial irregularities tends to surface on a semi-regular basis. For example in 2005, the Democrat Party came under scrutiny for received an unreported payment worth 258 million baht (USD8 million) from the cement company, TPI Polene, in breach of Thailand's political finance laws. In 2010, the Election Commission referred the case to the Constitutional Court, calling for the Democrat Party to be dissolved. The case was originally brought to the EC's attention by the United Front Against Dictatorship (UDD), a red-shirt movement affiliated with Thaksin Shinawatra. In a related case, the Democrats were accused of misusing 29 million baht (USD896,307) from the political party development fund. At the time, the EC voted to dissolve the Democrat Party, but the case was thrown out by the Constitutional Court on a legal technicality - fuelling accusations of political bias. It has been noted that the Constitutional Court has never ruled against the Democrat Party, although it has dissolved two pro-Thaksin parties over alleged electoral fraud.

        It is widely believed that Thai political parties continue to under-report their financial contributions, although it is very difficult to prove. Other types of financial irregularities have also been reported. In 2013, the Department for Special Investigations (DSI) charged 38 Democrat MPs for violating the Political Parties Act by directly funnelling donations exceeding 20,000 baht (USD625) through a direct bank transfer instead of a non-transferable cheque. The case was dropped by the DSI in August 2014, although the reasons were not made entirely clear. At the same time, the DSI suspended an investigation into the Democrat Party regarding an illegal one million baht (USD31,250) flood-relief donation from the partly state-owned East Water Group in 2010. The Political Parties Act prohibits companies in which the government owns stakes from making contributions to political parties. Both cases had previously been dismissed by the EC.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Phone interview with Pongsak Chanon, Project Coordinator for Thailand, ANFREL, on Monday 10 October 2014 (Please keep him anonymous).

        Bangkok Post, "DSI ends Democrat donation case probes ", August 15, 2014, http://ww.bangkokpost.net/news/politics/426782/dsi-ends-democrat-donation-case-probes

        The Nation, "Top Democrats face charge over donation to party", March 9, 2013, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Top-Democrats-face-charge-over-donation-to-party-30201576.html

        The Nation, "Top Democrats face charge over donation to party", March 9, 2013, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Top-Democrats-face-charge-over-donation-to-party-30201576.html

        Bangkok Post, "Dems in trouble over flood cash", May 30, 2012, http://www.bangkokpost.com/print/295665/

        Anfrel, Thailand General Election 2011 report, http://anfrel.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/ThaiEOMReportEdit4-final_edit.pdf

        CRI English, "Thai Election Commission submits second case for dissolution of ruling Democrat to Attorney General", October 5, 2010, http://english.cri.cn/6966/2010/05/10/1881s568759.htm

        The Nation, "EC witnesses air suspicions in Bt29m scandal case", August 24, 2010, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/2010/08/24/politics/EC-witnesses-air-suspicions-in-Bt29m-scandal-case-30136459.html

        Business Week, "Thai court drops legal case against ruling party", November 29, 2010, http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JPLQMG0.htm

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    58
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Thai political parties are legally obligated to report their revenues and expenditures to the Election Commission on an annual basis. Chapter 3 of the Organic Act on Political Parties lays out the rules surrounding political party account keeping. Section 45 states that political party accounts must include: "1) journal showing revenue, funds received and expended; (2) record of donations under Section 62; (3) ledger; (4) account showing assets and liabilities."

        Section 46 explains that "A revenue and expenditure account must, at a minimum, clearly show sources of revenue including donations, State subsidies and other funds and how funds were expended in political party operations, especially electoral expenses which must be detailed as prescribed by the Election Commission."

        Individual party candidates are not obligated to report itemized contributions and expenditures outside of elections. However, according to Section 49 "The Leader and members of the Executive Committee of a political party shall submit the accounts showing particulars of their assets and liabilities, and those of their spouses and children who have not yet become sui juris... on the date of taking office, the date of the expiration of term or the dissolution of the House of Representatives, or the date of vacating office."

        The Organic Act on Counter Corruption 1999 (amended in 2011) also requires persons holding political positions to declare their assets when entering or leaving office.

        During an election, political parties must follow specific reporting procedures as described in Chapter 1 of the Organic Act on Elections. Section 52 states that: "Within ninety days as from the date of the announcement of the result of election, each candidate and the political party nominating candidates on a party-list basis shall submit income and expenditure accounts prepared by the treasurer and certified by the candidate or the leader of the political party, as the case may be, to the Election Commission."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Chapter 3, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Section 52, Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Chapter 3, Organic Act of Counter Corruption 1999, http://www.oecd.org/site/adboecdanti-corruptioninitiative/46817329.pdf

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        Political parties and individual candidates are obligated to report their financial information to the Election Commission within 90 days of an election taking place, but not during the campaign period. According to section 49 of the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Reps, an election campaign period lasts ninety days.

        Section 52 states: "Within ninety days as from the date of the announcement of the result of election, each candidate and the political party nominating candidates on a party-list basis shall submit income and expenditure accounts prepared by the treasurer and certified by the candidate or the leader of the political party, as the case may be, to the Election Commission. The income and expenditure accounts shall at least contain all the paid expenses and the outstanding payment including the relevant accurate and complete evidence."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 52, 49, Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

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        23
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Political parties are obligated to report on their finances annually as stipulated in Chapter 3 of the Organic Act on Political Parties. Section 46 states: "A political party and its branches must close its accounts by the last day each calendar year. In closing its accounts, it shall prepare financial statements which, at a minimum, consist of a balance sheet and statements of receipt and expenditure; where a political party has branches, its financial statements shall also include the accounts of all its branches. A balance sheet must contain particulars of the political party’s assets, liabilities and funds. A revenue and expenditure account must, at a minimum, clearly show sources of revenue including donations, State subsidies and other funds and how funds were expended in political party operations, especially electoral expenses which must be detailed as prescribed by the Election Commission. The financial statement must be audited and certified by an authorized auditor."

        Individual party candidates are not obligated to report their financial information outside of election campaign periods. However, according to Section 49 "The Leader and members of the Executive Committee of a political party shall submit the accounts showing particulars of their assets and liabilities, and those of their spouses and children who have not yet become sui juris... on the date of taking office, the date of the expiration of term or the dissolution of the House of Representatives, or the date of vacating office." Also, in principle, all donations exceeding 5,000 baht (155 USD) should be channelled through the party and publicly reported (according to the Organic Act on Political Parties), but the law is quite vague, especially on the issue of donations given to individual candidates.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. During non-campaign period, political parties are required to report their financial information to the ECT on a yearly basis for their financial statement that need to be certified by the CPA. However, donations (and other things considered benefits) need to be reported within 7 days to the ECT.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Chapter 3, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Reviewer's sources: In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014 Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014

        Section 60, Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        50
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        Thai political parties are obligated to report on their finances to the Election Commission once a year when they close their accounts. According to the Political Parties Act, annual financial statements must "consist of a balance sheet and statements of receipt and expenditure". During national election campaigns, they must report to the EC within 90 days of the election taking place. According to national election laws, theses reports must "at least contain all the paid expenses and the outstanding payment including the relevant accurate and complete evidence." Political parties and individual candidates usually meet these requirements, without significant exception, because they are likely to be banned from politics or disqualified from the relevant election if they do not. Further, reports of contributions must be filed with 7 days, and these reports are typically made. No such reporting of expenditures occurs during the campaign period, however.

        Indeed, since political parties "self-report" their campaign expenditures and annual accounts, it may facilitate under or mis-reporting. It is very difficult to prove allegations of under-reporting, but many analysts and journalists believe it to be common. The reporting system is certainly vulnerable to abuse. Previous cases, such as the TPI Polene scandal, give credit to these allegations. According to one expert source (who requested anonymity), part of the problem lies with poor oversight mechanisms, vague provisions in the law and a lack of scrutiny by civil society and the media, as well as the ECT.

        As for the most recent election, this was a snap election, called less than two months ahead of time. Parties were not required to submit their post-election reports since the election was subsequently cancelled.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. During non-campaign period, political parties are required to report their financial information to the ECT on a yearly basis for their financial statement that need to be certified by the CPA. However, for donations (and other things considered benefits) must be reported within 7 days to the ECT.

        For individual candidates, they are not required to report financial information tp the ECT because the ECT is only responsible for monitoring these "candidates" during campaign period only.

        About the report that each party need to submit to the ECT, the party need to submit an itemized contributions (from individual or corporate) in the form or a letter to the ECT describe who the donors are (within 7 days) -- this only the donations!

        For other expenditure, it can be reported in a form yearly . Moreover, all the budget or fund requested form (from the politcal development fund) that submit to the ECT need to be in the line-item budget form. This is because the ECT want to know exactly how the fund will be used.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        The Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Phone interview with civil society representative who requested anonymity, October 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration

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        25
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        50
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        Political parties and candidates are obligated to report on their campaign expenses within 90 days of an election taking place. According to Thailand's election law, party obligations must include "at least all the paid expenses and the outstanding payment including the relevant accurate and complete evidence." In practice, the reports are very brief, including only a general list of income and expenditures. Political parties submit receipts along with the report, which includes additional details, such as the names of Pheu Thai Party candidates who contributed personal income to their campaigns. The reports do not clearly distinguish between in-kind and monetary contributions. Neither the Democrat Party nor the Pheu Thai Party listed third-party donors or individuals as contributors to their election campaign in 2011.

        Additional supporting information is submitted to the EC as well. The names and addresses of all donors giving more than 5,000 baht to a party or candidate are recorded from this additional supporting information and published separately.

        Until May 2014, the ECT published monthly data about political party donations. This included the donors' names, monetary value of contribution and an identifier number.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Interviewees confirm that, in practice, all parties adhere to the law. This means that most donations are reported, though there are some exceptions. I would like to again explain that there is no culture of making contributions to individual candidates in Thailand since most of them can afford all the expenses in running a campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Phone interview with civil society representative who requested anonymity, October 2014.

        Election Commission of Thailand website, Political Information -- Donations, May 2557 (2014) http://www.ect.go.th/th/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/fund_may57.pdf

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), The Democrat Party, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/m6jkpefv10001pm/Thailand-28-10668-391.docx?dl=0

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), Pheu Thai, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/1x8d0eoh92srsek/Thailand-28-10668-392.docx?dl=0

        Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        The Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Reviewer's sources: In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014 Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
      • expand button!
        26
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        The Election Commission is required to publish the financial statements of political parties every year.

        Section 47 of the Organic Act on Political Parties states: "When the Registrar has received the financial statements and copies of accounts under paragraph two, the Registrar shall, with the consent of the Election Commission, appoint one or more groups of five persons, each consisting of a representative of the Office of the Auditor General of Thailand, a representative of the Comptroller General’s Department, a representative of the Revenue Department, a representative of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, and an officer of the Election Commission, to carry out the examination of financial statements under paragraph two and submit them to the Election Commission for consideration and public announcement."

        Regarding post-election reports, Section 54 of the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators states: "After the verification of the particulars of expenses by the Election Commission under paragraph one, the Election Commission shall announce the result of such verification of expenses in accordance with the rules and procedure presribed by the Election Commission."

        Thailand also has an Official Information Law which guarantees citizens the right to request information from the government. However, this law does not specifically address political finance data and does not obligate the government to respond within a set amount of days.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 47 of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Official Information Act 1997, http://www.asianlii.org/th/legis/consol_act/oia1997197/

        Section 54 of the Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

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        27
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        The Election Commission of Thailand is responsible for scrutinising and publishing the financial information of political parties. It publishes some data, such as the donations made to political parties and details on the money received through the political party development fund, on its website. Monthly data on donations is published in PDF, and some historical information on political party development funds is published in excel. However, this data is incomplete and has not been updated since the military seized power in May 2014.

        Upon request, the Election Commission will send you additional political finance data, such as the election campaign expenditure from the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties, but it is not available in a machine-readable format. The Democrat Party also publishes financial information on its website, although the most recent reports available are from 2010 (Thai year 2553). Most other political parties do not publish such data.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        The Election Commission of Thailand, "Political Information" http://www.ect.go.th/th/?page_id=1043

        The Election Commission of Thailand, "Party Development Fund" http://www2.ect.go.th/download.php?Province=fdp&SiteMenuID=10028

        The Democrat Party website, http://www.democrat.or.th/th/about/finance/y2553/

        Email interview with Saksith Saiyasombut, political journalist and analyst, August 22, 2014

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), The Democrat Party, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/m6jkpefv10001pm/Thailand-28-10668-391.docx?dl=0

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), Pheu Thai, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/1x8d0eoh92srsek/Thailand-28-10668-392.docx?dl=0

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        28
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        Political parties report on their finances in accordance with the rules and regulations established by the EC, which includes a standardized, comparable format. The attached reports from the Democrat and Pheu Thai follow this format. The author was sent photocopies in PDF format via email (the sources listed are translated versions of those documents.)

        The information in this standardized format includes: 1) Information about political party - such as party leader, amount of members, address. 2) report on monthly donation of parties in a format that the ECT put in to show that how much donation money each party receive per month. 3) Fund requested form submit to ECT from each party for the year 2014 to receive money from the Fund for Development of Political Parties.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. The information of parties and candidates is published on a board of notice at the ECT office, and are available upon request. The information is not online.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

        Rules and procedures for the accounting of income and expenses during elections, The Election Commission of Thailand, http://www.ect.go.th/th/?wpfb_dl=291

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), The Democrat Party, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/m6jkpefv10001pm/Thailand-28-10668-391.docx?dl=0

        Report of cash receipts and payments (Party list), Pheu Thai, May 10, 2014 to July 3, 2014, https://www.dropbox.com/s/1x8d0eoh92srsek/Thailand-28-10668-392.docx?dl=0

        Reviewer's sources: In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014 Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014

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        29
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        Thai media regularly report on the political finance and campaign spending of political parties. Oftentimes, the two leading parties seek to probe each other's expenditures in order to score political points. The Election Commission publishes financial data on political expenditures, which is usually reported in the media. However, official spending figures are widely believed to be inaccurate, representing only a small percentage of actual expenditures. From time to time, the media publish leaked information about political campaign funding, although a detailed breakdown of expenditures is rarely available.

        For example, both the leading English-language dailies, the Bangkok Post and the Nation, as well as Thai PBS, have published stories citing campaign expenses based on figures from the EC. In February 2014, The Bangkok Post ran a story containing leaked information about companies and individuals who had funded the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Council (PDRC). However, data journalism is still a very new concept in Thailand, with only a couple of alternative news magazines experimenting with infographics and financial data.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Email interview with Bangkok Pundit, political blogger and analyst, 30 July 2014.

        Email interview with Saksith Sayasombut, political journalist and blogger, August 4, 2014.

        The Nation, "Pheu Thai wants an answer from EC on poll", April 20, 2014. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Pheu-Thai-wants-an-answer-from-EC-on-poll-30231827.html

        Thai PBS, "Pheu Thai hits back at the National Audit Office", May 8, 2014. http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/pheu-thai-hits-back-national-audit-office/

        The Nation, "Pheu Thai calls for probe into Democrat dinner", March 8, 2011. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Pheu-Thai-calls-for-probe-into-Democrat-dinner-30150351.html

        The Nation, "Donation to Pheu Thai reaches Bt9.1mn in August", September 29, 2013. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Donation-to-Pheu-Thai-reaches-Bt9-1mn-in-August-30215890.html

        Bangkok Post, "Unofficial List of PDRC funders leaked", February 12, 2014. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/394613/unofficial-list-of-firms-and-individuals-said-to-be-funding-protests-leaked

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        30
        Score
        75
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        Anti-government protesters made numerous accusations of election fraud and manipulation during the last election. Only one of these directly affected the political finances of the (then) ruling party. In December, the Democrats accused Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and eight members of the Pheu Thai party of illegally using state funds to campaign for votes in northern Thailand. The Democrat Party claimed she was giving an unfair advantage to her party.

        The Election Commission has since decided to investigate these allegations, although the Pheu Thai party says they are politically motivated.

        Note that there were no documented reports of candidates violating the expenditure or contribution limits, and parties were not obligated to submit post-election reports in 2014 since the election was annulled.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. If the meaning of this indicator is to capture incidents of violations or abuses of political finance laws, and this means reports of violations of donations, income, party assets, etc., there are no such firmly documented cases. Since the 2014 election was annulled, there are no official reports on incidents of abuse, etc.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Email interview with Bangkok Pundit, political blogger and analyst, 30 July 2014.

        The Nation, "Yingluck using state funds to woo voters: Dems", December 13, 2013. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Yingluck-using-state-funds-to-woo-voters-Dems-30222556.html

        Bangkok Post, "Yingluck, former ministers face fresh allegations," July 28, 2014. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/422872/yingluck-former-ministers-face-another-allegation

        MOCT News, "Democrats to charge PM Yingluck with election fraud", January 13, 2014 http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/696233-democrats-to-charge-pm-yingluck-with-election-fraud/

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        31
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        Vote buying is a highly politicised issue in Thailand, with "yellow shirt" supporters and the Democrat Party regularly accusing the "red shirts" or Pheu Thai party of purchasing votes to secure their power base. Several instances of vote buying were reported during the 2011 general elections. However, there was no concrete evidence of vote buying taking place in the February 2014 election. While it is important to note that the 2014 elections were uncontested and therefore rendered vote buying largely unnecessary, most observers agree that Thai politics is becoming cleaner.

        As cited by Max Gromping, a recent survey conducted by the Electoral Integrity Project concluded that the February 2014 elections met the global average standards for electoral integrity and that allegations of vote buying were widely exaggerated. One prospective Senator was "red carded" by the Election Commission in August 2014 for using misleading campaign slogans in the March 2014 Senate elections, but this cannot be defined as "vote buying". Indeed, most allegations of electoral manipulation do not meet objective criteria for "vote buying". For example, some Democrat supporters claim that the Pheu Thai party has "bought votes" using populist election campaign policies, which does not hold water.


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree. Those who study Thai politics believe that vote-buying is not limited to giving out money during an election period--patronage is a feature of the political system. Due to the special circumstances of the 2014 elections, there is no documented evidence of vote buying, but such practices can be discovered everywhere.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Email interview with Bangkok Pundit, political blogger and analyst, 30 July 2014.

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        The Nation, "Vote buying 'not decisive factor in an election'," January 25, 2014, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Vote-buying-%5Cnot-decisive-factor-in-an-election%5C-30225153.html

        Bangkok Pundit, Asian Correspondent, "Vote buying and Thaksin, and the Democrats", December 2, 2013, http://asiancorrespondent.com/116697/vote-buying-thaksin-and-the-democrats/

        Bangkok Post, "Vote buying claims nothing but dangerous nonsense", December 6, 2013, http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/383418/vote-buying-claims-nothing-but-dangerous-nonsense

        Max Gromping, New Mandala, "Electoral integrity in Thailand", 1 May 2014, http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2014/05/01/electoral-integrity-in-thailand/?utmsource=twitterfeed&utmmedium=twitter&utm_campaign=electoral-integrity-in-thailand

        Bangkok Post, "EC gives Leena 'red card'", August 15, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/426946/ec-gives-leena-red-card

        WSJ, "Graft Probe Linked to Rice Subsidies Targets Thai Premier", January 16, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579324452939021052

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        32
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        Over the past few years, a number of civil society movements have begun to campaign for political finance transparency in Thailand. Examples include Thailand Democracy Watch, Thailand Information Center for Civil Rights and Investigative Journalism (TCIJ) and Thailand Political Database -- NGO or academic-supported websites that provide public information on political finance. The TCIJ has previously published data about the richest politicians in Thailand, based on statistics from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), although this data has not been updated since 2012. The Thailand Political Database publishes data about politicians' involvement in corruption cases. Thailand Democracy Watch, an NGO based at Chulalongkorn University, has published information about the salaries of politicians (last updated in 2011.) However, these NGOs are not using the officially published financial reports referred to earlier in this section.

        Also, many of these campaigns have been accused of political bias, with ties to the "yellow-shirt" movement. Dr. Charas Suwanmala from Chulalongkorn University -- a known anti-Thaksin campaigner -- is involved in all three aforementioned projects. Mainstream NGOs, such as Transparency International Thailand, have also supported these projects, although it does not have an active programme on political finance.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. Some civil society organizations, including the Thailand Political Database and the Thailand Democracy Watch, publish information on the assets and liabilities of sitting MPs. This information was obtained from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. However, no CSOs treated with political campaign finance information from the most recent elections.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Email Interview with Dr Juree Vichit-Vadakan, Secretary-General of Transparency International Thailand, September 4, 2014

        Thailand Political Database, http://www.tpd.in.th/

        Thailand Democracy Watch, http://www.tdw.polsci.chula.ac.th/

        Thailand Information Center for Civil Rights and Investigative Journalism, http://tcijthai.com/tcijthainews/view.php?ids=141

        Chiang Mai News, "Voters urged to visit Thailand Political Database", July 2, 2011, http://www.chiangmai-mail.com/Update-News/news_ju30.shtml

        Asian Correspondent, "Giles Ji Ungpakorn on Thailand’s new GNGO", May 30, 2011, http://asiancorrespondent.com/56177/giles-ji-ungpakorn-on-thailands-new-gngo/

        Reviewer's sources: Thailand Political Database, accessed on November 3, 2014 http://tpd.in.th/person

        Thailand Democracy Watch, accessed on November 3, 2014 http://www.tdw.polsci.chula.ac.th

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        33
        Score
        --
        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        Thailand's recent history has been marked by political upheaval, military interventions and constitutional change. Over the past ten years, the military has staged two coups (first in 2006 and recently again in 2014) before abolishing the constitution and pushing through various legal and political reforms. Both coups were designed to eradicate the influence of Thailand’s controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose affiliated political parties have won every election since 2001.

        The 2007 constitution is broadly viewed to be less democratic than its predecessor, slashing the number of elected Senators from 100 to 50 percent (since 2007, only 50% of Senators are elected). The new charter also boosted the powers of the judicial branch and the Election Commission. According to the independent monitoring body Anfrel: “A notable power is the ability to dissolve political parties and ban members of their executive committee for five years for violations of the election law.”

        Stricter penalties for violations of political finance laws were also introduced. For example, the 1998 Organic Act on the Formation of Political Parties only includes three sections on penalties (40-42), while the 2007 version includes a lengthy chapter on criminal and administrative penalties for various political finance offenses.

        This segment of the law was subsequently used to dissolve Thaksin Shinawatra's party, Thai Rak Thai, and to ban him from politics. In 2007, the Organic Act on Political Parties and the Organic Law on Election of Members of the House of Representatives and Selection of Members of the Senate were updated. The following year, a law governing the Election Commission was passed. The constitution was amended again in 2011, shortly before the next general election, boosting the number of elected MPs and introducing a single-seat MP constituency system, which critics say was intended to favour the ruling Democrat party.

        When the military junta seized power in May 2014, it disbanded the 2007 constitution and partially suspended three organic laws governing politics and elections (although the election commission insists they are still valid). It is widely expected that the junta will seek to revise political and election laws again as part of its drive to "reform" Thailand's political system. It is not yet clear how that will affect political finance mechanisms, although the EC has called for even broader powers under its mandate, including the authority to set the date of new elections.


        Peer reviewer comment: The financial audit of the political process has materialized since the adoption of the Constitution Act of 2540 as set forth in the Act on Political Parties Act 2541, from Article 37 to 64, which include the following – political party financial system , donations and support from both the government and private parties that political received. The practice of the political finance monitoring can be seen further in the Organic Act on the Election of Members of Parliament and Senators, 2541, from Article 40 to 50, which limit campaign spending for both political party and the candidates, as well as requiring the preparation of financial accounts for auditing.

        When the 2550 constitution declared effective system of financial monitoring of political parties has been passed and clearly defined. As mentioned in the Act on Political Parties 2550, from Article 53 to 90 and the Act on the Election of Members of Parliament and Senators Acquisition Act 2550, which has both covered issues such as income requirements, terms of spending both in regular period and during the election campaign, and requirements to monitor the use of funds of political parties development.

        The reason for this evolution of political finance cited in the previous paragraphs have to be traced back to 1997 when there was a major reform of Thai political system, that try to change the style of politics from "money politics" to "clean politics" So, in the 1997 constitution, two horizontal independent organziation were created in order to make politcs more transperent - for example the ECT, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman.

        However, though having a tighther political finance system, significant change in this area is not clear. For example, there were no "red card" or "yellow card" issued to the candidates because of the violation of the politcal finance/campaign-finance related, or the dissolution of the political parties was not resulting of this matter either.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        People's Daily Online, "Approved charter amendments pave way for Thai new election", February 11, 2011, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90851/7285017.html

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order", June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        ANFREL Preliminary Report July 5th – Thailand", July 5, 2011, http://anfrel.org/anfrel-preliminary-report-july-5th-thailand/

        Robert Amsterdam, "Thailand: The Plot Against Democracy-- Behind the Thai Establishment’s Disenfranchisement Agenda", March 18, 2014, http://robertamsterdam.com/thailand/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Thailand-The-Plot-Against-Democracy.pdf

        Bangkok Post, "EC proposes changes to election law", 8 July 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/419495/ec-proposes-changes-to-election-law

        Reviewer's sources: In-person interviews: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014 Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014

        The 1997 and 2007 Constitution http://english.constitutionalcourt.or.th/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=4&lang=en

        Organic Law on the political parties, B.E, 2541 (1998) http://thailaws.com/law/tlaws/tlaw01924.pdf

        Organic Law on the election of Member of the House of Representative and Senators, B.E, 2541 (1998) http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0192.pdf

        Organic Law on the political parties, B.E, 2550 (2007) http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0498.pdf

        Organic Law on the election of Member of the House of Representative and Senators, B.E, 2550 (2007) http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        NCPO annoucement no. 57/2557 (2014) http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/announcement-2/item/83931-id83931.html

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    Third Party Actors

    More about category
    composite
    0
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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
      More about category
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        34
        Score
        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        Third parties are not required to report on any independent expenditures intended to influence an election.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

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        35
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        Third-party actors are not required to report itemized contributions or expenditures.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        36
        Score
        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Third-party actors are not required to report on their campaign contributions or expenses.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Data on Political Donations, The Election Commission of Thailand, accessed on September 29, 2014. http://www.ect.go.th/th/?page_id=1043

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

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        37
        Score
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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        There is very little public information about the role of third parties in indirectly influencing elections. Part of the problem is that political finance laws are vague and do not lay out comprehensive reporting mechanisms, so they are not open to significant scrutiny.

        Third party actors are not separately regulated by Thai political finance laws, making it difficult to gauge their influence over political campaigns. Currently, political parties are obligated to self-report the contributions they receive. However, many experts on political finance believe that parties have a tendency to under-report these contributions, as evidenced by occasional high-profile scandals, such as the TPI Polene case.

        There are certain third-party actors that influence political campaigns, including the two main political pressure groups, the now-defunct Democrat-affiliated People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the Thaksin-affiliated United Front Against Dictatorship (UDD). Both groups played a key role in campaigning and fundraising during the 2011 elections, although it is not clear how much money was spent. During the 2011 election, the Democrat Party complained that the Pheu Thai Party received an unfair spending advantage due to the UDD's support. The UDD is believed to have received funding directly from Thaksin, while the PAD is believed to have been funded largely by its senior leadership.

        Since 2013, the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has replaced the PAD as the main civic pressure group backing the Democrat Party. Led by ex-Democrat Suthep Thaugsuban, the PDRC launched anti-government protests late last year, culminating in mass disruption and subsequent annulment of the 2014 elections. Data leaked to the press in early 2014 suggests that the PDRC receives financial backing from various major Thai corporations and wealthy individuals.

        The Thai military has also been accused of financially and politically supporting the Democrat Party in the 2011 elections, despite vowing to stay neutral.


        Peer reviewer comment: Note that the UDD, PAD, and PDRC are not necessarily labeled as any party's supporter, and they do not claim to be official members of any party. However, some of their leaders may end up as a party candidate during general elections. Voters and supporters can mobilize within these groups, and end up supporting the relevant candidate.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Tasty Thailand, "Who is Funding the PDRC and Suthep's Government protests?" February 12, 2014, http://tastythailand.com/who-is-funding-the-pdrc-and-sutheps-anti-government-protests/

        Bangkok Post, "Unofficial list of PDRC funders leaked', 12 Feb 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/most-recent/394613/unofficial-list-of-firms-and-individuals-said-to-be-funding-protests-leaked

        The Nation, 'Hard to prove reds, Pheu Thai are one', May 23, 2011, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2011/05/23/national/Hard-to-prove-reds-Pheu-Thai-are-one-30155972.html

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

    More about category
    composite
    60
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      Monitoring Capabilities
      More about category
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        38
        Score
        YES
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        The Election Commission of Thailand is an ostensibly independent agency responsible for monitoring political finance information. It was originally established under Thailand's 1997 constitution and re-affirmed in the 2007 constitution. When the junta took power in May, it insisted that the EC "shall continue to function".

        The body's duties are explained in the 2008 Organic Act on the Election Commission. Section 10 states that one of its duties include: "To determine measures and controls of financial contributions, contributions of assets or any other benefits that may be calculated into proceeds, to political parties; of State financial support, expenditures of a political party and candidates, as well as an open auditing of financial statements of political parties, and the control of the dispensing or accepting of proceeds for the purpose of gaining votes in elections, and in this regard, it shall be in accordance with the Organic Act on Political Parties."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Organic Act on the Election Commission 2008, http://www.ifes.org/Content/Publications/Election-Law/2007/Thailand-Election-Commission-Law.aspx

        Interim Constitution of Thailand 2014, http://www.isranews.org/isranews-article/item/31533-translation.html

        Thailand's 2007 Constitution (now defunct) http://www.isaanlawyers.com/constitution%20thailand%202007%20-%202550.pdf

        Ministry of foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

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        NO
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        The appointment process for high-level positions at the Election Commission was explained in Thailand's 2007 Constitution (Chapter 6, part 1). Article 230 lists qualifications and prohibitions for appointment, and article 231 lists the appointment procedure, which includes Senate approval (by hidden ballot). However, the constitution was abrogated by the military junta on May 22, 2014, when it took power in a coup. The 2014 interim constitution does not address the EC's appointment mechanisms. The junta has announced that new appointment to the Election Commission would follow the same procedures outlined in the 2007 constitution, however this is no longer enshrined in law.

        Section 34 of the Organic Act on the Election Commission lays out some selection criteria for the body's Secretary-General. It states: "The Secretary-General shall be nonpartisan, a person of integrity, has Thai nationality by birth, not over sixty-five years of age, and shall have qualifications, experience and success in the area of administration as prescribed by the Election Commission."


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree. Suggests a YES score. The researcher is correct that the military abolished the 2007 Constitution. However, according to the announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO no 57/2557 of May 26, 2014), "The Organic Act on Political Parties of 2007 continues to be valid until further amendment. The announcement notes that, "The Election Commission shall be consulted should there be any question," which indicates that the ECT will still remain in office. However, we will have to see whether there will be a new arrangement on the ECT in the upcoming Constitution, which will lay out the procedure for the selection of the EC.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Thailand's 2007 Constitution (now defunct) http://www.isaanlawyers.com/constitution%20thailand%202007%20-%202550.pdf

        Thailand's 2014 interim Constitution, http://www.isranews.org/isranews-article/item/31533-translation.html

        The Organic Act on the Election Commission 2008, http://www.ifes.org/Content/Publications/Election-Law/2007/Thailand-Election-Commission-Law.aspx

        Announcement of the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council No. 11/2557, Subject: Termination of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, http://thaicoup2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/thaicoup-all-ncpo-announcements-in-one-place/

        Ministry of foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: NCPO annoucement no. 57/2557 (2014) http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/announcement-2/item/83931-id83931.html

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        0
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        The selection process for the EC's chairman and commissioners was laid out in the defunct 2007 constitution. According to Section 231, they were appointed by a selection committee "consisting of the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, the President of the Constitutional Court, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, the President of the House of Representatives, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, a person selected at a general meeting of the Supreme Court of Justice and a person selected at a general meeting of the Supreme Administrative Court".

        The most recent selection of Election Commissioners took place in December 2013, shortly after former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called for new elections. The nominees were then passed to the Senate for approval, before being signed off by the King. Although the roles were publicly advertised, the process has been described as a "white wash" by critics. Ultimately, the nominees were selected by members of the political establishment, and the independence of the EC has often been called into question. For example, the Election Commission appears to have sided with anti-government protesters in a public dispute over whether the February 2 poll should proceed, with one Commissioner publicly deriding Yingluck about a rumoured sex scandal in the process.

        These concerns have become all the more acute since the junta seized power and dissolved parliament. The National Legislative Assembly has since been replaced with an unelected 200-member body, consisting of mostly military men and individuals hand-picked by the army. While the military government claims that the appointment process for new Election Commissioners will remain the same as outlined in the 2007 constitution, this is practically impossible to envision in the absence of a democratic framework. Currently, the EC is working with the junta to select members of the military-backed "National Reform Council."


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree. Suggests a 100 score. Current ECT commissioners have links to both sides of Thailand's ongoing political conflict. The selection process is administered by judges from the country's highest court, which introduces some certainty into the integrity of the process. But as the Thai public does not have access to the court's deliberations on these issues, it is hard to say whether the ECT members were selected based exclusively on merit.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        2007 Constitution of Thailand (currently defunct), http://www.asianlii.org/th/legis/const/2007/1.html

        The Government Public Relations Department, "Selection of the Members of the National Reform Council", 10 August 2014. http://thailand.prd.go.th/view_news.php?id=7372&a=2

        Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 48/2557, Subject: Recruitments for available positions, http://thaicoup2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/thaicoup-all-ncpo-announcements-in-one-place/

        Saksith Sayiasombut, "Thailand’s Election Commission reluctant to hold February 2 poll", January 18, 2014. http://saiyasombut.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/thailands-election-commission-reluctant-to-hold-february-2-poll/

        Reviewer's sources: News articles in Thai that discuss ECT nominees and their ties to political parties: Thairath, "Court Meets to Choose ECT," September 30, 2014 http://www.thairath.co.th/content/372858 Thairath, "Aplpication Deadline for ECT," September 30, 2014 http://www.thairath.co.th/content/373074 Bangkok Biz News, "The meeting of the Supreme Court Votes to Select the ECT," October 8, 2014. http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/mobile/xhtml/news/detail/00/535182/ Bangkok Biz News, "Parade of Candidates for Recruitment to ECT," n.d. http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/mobile/xhtml/news/detail/00/533388/

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        NO
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        According to the currently defunct Constitution of 2007 (article 232), the Elections Commissioners serve a term of seven years from the date of their appointment, with no renewal. The Constitution also set forth the due process to be followed for removal of any commissionaers. As noted in #39, section 10 (7) of the Organic Act on the Election Commission (2008) gives the EC the power to oversee, and audit, the finances of political parties and candidates, and (10) empowers them to 'conduct an investigation and inquiry for fact-finding and to adjudicate and make decisions...'.

        However, the constitution was abrogated by the military junta on May 22, 2014, when it took power in a coup. The 2014 interim constitution does not specifically address these details. The junta has announced that the Election Commission would follow the same procedures outlined in the 2007 constitution, however this is no longer enshrined in law.


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree. Suggests a YES score. As previously explained, the researcher is correct that the military abolished the 2007 Constitution. However, according to the announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO no 57/2557 of May 26, 2014), "The Organic Act on Political Parties of 2007 continues to be valid until further amendment. The announcement notes that, "The Election Commission shall be consulted should there be any question," which indicates that the ECT will still remain in office.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Organic Act on the Election Commission 2008, http://www.ifes.org/Content/Publications/Election-Law/2007/Thailand-Election-Commission-Law.aspx

        2007 Constitution of Thailand (currently defunct), article 232, http://www.asianlii.org/th/legis/const/2007/1.html

        Announcement of the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council No. 11/2557, Subject: Termination of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, http://thaicoup2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/thaicoup-all-ncpo-announcements-in-one-place/

        Ministry of foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

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        0
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        Since the military took power in May, government bodies and agencies have been unable to operate without the threat of interference. General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the head of the armed forces, has banned political activities and the formation of new parties, suspended the EC's political party development fund and indefinitely delayed elections. The 2007 constitution, which provides the legal basis for the EC, has also been removed.

        The army has claimed that new Election Commissioners would be appointed according to the same process laid out in the 2007 constitution - with the Senate making the final decision. However, the National Legislative Assembly has been replaced by a non-elected body, consisting mostly of the military's top brass and other individuals hand-picked by the army. Subsequently, there is no due process for the appointment or removal of EC commissioners (even though a seven-year tenure is ostensibly guaranteed by Section 232 of the 2007 constitution.)

        Even prior to the May 22 coup, the Election Commission was known to be biased in favour of the Democrat Party. For example, during anti-government protests in late 2013, three members of the Election Commission threatened to resign unless the February 2014 election was postponed - signalling support for the anti-Yingluck movement.


        Peer reviewer comment: Disagree. Suggests a 100 score. Since the coup, the ECT has still been charged with the administration of elections. However, it has not really been in the circle of power since the coup, and to say whether the ECT appointees are pressured is difficult.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Associated Press, "Thailand’s Gen. Prayuth summons politicians, listens a few hours, then says he’s seizing power", May 24, 2014, http://o.canada.com/news/thailands-gen-prayuth-summons-politicians-listens-a-few-hours-then-says-hes-seizing-power

        The Constitution of Thailand 2007, http://www.asianlii.org/th/legis/const/2007/1.html

        Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Saksith Sayiasombut, "Thailand’s Election Commission reluctant to hold February 2 poll", January 18, 2014. http://saiyasombut.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/thailands-election-commission-reluctant-to-hold-february-2-poll/

        Channel News Asia, "Thailand's new National Legislative Assembly inaugurated", August 9, 2014, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thailand-s-new-national/1302050.html

        Bangkok Post, "EC: Free, fair poll not possible", December 27, 2013, http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/386853/ec-free-fair-poll-not-possible

        Robert Amsterdam, "Thailand: The Plot Against Democracy-- Behind the Thai Establishment’s Disenfranchisement Agenda", March 18, 2014, http://robertamsterdam.com/thailand/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Thailand-The-Plot-Against-Democracy.pdf

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        --
        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        The Election Commission is made up of five commissioners, one of whom serves as the chairman. The body is supported by the Office of the Election Commission, which consists of five main departments: General Administration, Investigation and Adjudication, Election Administration, Political Party Affairs and Referenda, and Public Participation. The EC has a mandate to regulate the election process and to ensure that it is carried out in accordance with the Constitution. It has broad authority to dismiss electoral candidates and dissolve political parties that breach electoral laws. In practice, for a party to be dissolved it will need to go through the courts first, although the EC can issue a recommendation. Individual candidates are dismissed on a fairly regular basis.

        All decisions are made on the basis of a majority vote, unless the EC is ordering a new election or revoking an individual's right to vote. In that case, the Election Commission decides by a vote of four-fifths of the total number of its members present. In cases where a simple majority vote is needed, but there is a tie, the presiding Chairman has an additional vote.

        The EC has been accused of pro-Democrat bias for many years. In 2014, it was accused of colluding with anti-government protesters to delay the planned poll, which would constitute a breach of its mandate. It is currently working with the undemocratic military regime to facilitate a "national reform process" that is likely to dilute democratic provisions in the country. The Election Commission has called for greater powers as well, including the right to delay elections or call new elections without the consent of the Prime Minister.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. In most part I agree with the researcher comments (paragraph 1 and 2), yet in paragraph 3 to say that the EC was pro-Democrat party might be misleading. It might be true for the past few years. But if we look back further in the past, the EC (with a previous set of commissioners) was accused of being biased toward Thai Rak Thai/Pheu Thai party as well.

        As you can see from the news about the court case on accusations of the EC in 2006 that indicated election bias towards Thai Rak Thai party - though the Supreme Court dropped the charge against them - but this is an indication of how the EC is accused of bias towards one side or another.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        Report of the International Election Observation Mission by The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), http://anfrel.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/ThaiEOMReportEdit4-final_edit.pdf

        Section 8 of the Election Commission Law, http://www.thailaws.com/indexthailaws.htm

        Bangkok Post, "EC proposes changes to election law", July 8, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/419495/ec-proposes-changes-to-election-law

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

        Reviewer's sources: "Supreme Court drops charge against former EC commissioners" The Nation, June 13, 2013, http://nationmultimedia.com/politics/Supreme-Court-drops-charge-against-former-EC-commi-30208210.html

        "Wassana wins 2006 polls case appeal", Bangkok Post, June 13, 2013, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/354902/supreme-court-overrules-convictions-of-three-former-election-commissioners-in-the-2006-elections-case

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        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        The EC has sufficient budget and staff to monitor all incoming reports from political parties, according to its staff. Thai political parties are only required to submit one annual financial report and one report to the EC within 90 days of an election. These reports are reviewed by staff at different departments, before being signed off by the Election Commission. The EC had a budget of 3.8 billion baht ($200,000) for the February 2014 election.

        If any irregularities are discovered in a report, the issue would be discussed at the board of the election commission. If a party fails to submit a report or submits an incomplete report, the EC may recommend for that party to be dissolved.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. In addition to assessing the capacity at the central unit of EC, we can also look at the activites that the provincial EC office carry out regarding monitoring and holding elections (national and local elections).

        In each EC provincial website they provide information about national and local elections, stats, news, regulations, etc.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Email Correspondence with the Election Commission, September 4, 2014

        Reviewer sources: Election Commission Website, accessed on Dec 16, 2014, http://www2.ect.go.th/minisite.php

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        45
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        During elections, the ECT sets up two committees dedicated to financial audits: one on the consituency level and one on the party-list level. At the party-level, they include senior figures from the Auditor General's Office, money-laundering office, budget office and revenue department, as well as the Election Commission. These committees oversee regular investigations and audits during an election.

        The EC held a number of investigations during Thailand's last election. Indeed, the body is obligated to investigate all complaints lodged by eligible voters or candidates, according to its own rules and regulations. Notably, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is still under investigation for allegedly misusing state funds in her election campaign, in a case critics describe as politically motivated.

        The Pheu Thai Party in turn called for the EC to dissolve the Democrat Party for their role in disrupting the February 2014 elections. The EC also investigated candidates involved in the March Senator elections, which resulted in at least one candidate receiving a "red card" for misleading voters during her campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Bangkok Post, "Yingluck, former ministers face fresh allegations", July 28, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/422872/yingluck-former-ministers-face-another-allegation

        MCOT, "Pheu Thai Party strikes back, wants Democrat Party dissolution", February 5, 2014, http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/702269-pheu-thai-party-strikes-back-wants-democrat-party-dissolution/

        Email Correspondence with the Election Commission, September 4, 2014.

        Election Commission Regulation On Investigations and Rulings B.E. 2554 (2011), https://www.dropbox.com/s/yjf4d9yf1ro7kja/Thailand-45-10685-393.pdf?dl=0

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        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        The EC is authorised to conduct various investigations and audits during election campaigns. However the findings of these reports are not made publicly available. The Election Commission cited "human rights concerns" for the officials involved as the reason, but explained that the outcomes of investigations are announced to the media. Indeed, a number of investigations (mostly focused on the Pheu Thai party) are currently underway and receive significant media attention. However, limited details are available to the public.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. In practice, the public will learn about the outcome about the investigation from press release of the EC and the press will print them out. The public cannot access the results from its website or from the EC office for hard copy.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Email correspondence with the Election Commission, September 4, 2014.

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

        Election Commission Regulation On Investigations and Rulings B.E. 2554 (2011), https://www.dropbox.com/s/yjf4d9yf1ro7kja/Thailand-45-10685-393.pdf?dl=0

    • expand button!
      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
      • expand button!
        47
        Score
        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        Chapter 6 (Penalties) of the Organic Law on Political Parties describes penalties for political parties and individuals who breach Thailand's political finance laws. Both criminal (in part 1) and administrative sanctions (in part 2) may be applied to individuals and political parties that breach the law's provisions.

        Two examples: Section 112 states: "A Leader or member of the Executive Committee of a political party who fails to comply with Section 49 or intentionally submits an account showing particulars of assets and liabilities together with supporting documents that display false statements or conceal facts that should be disclosed, shall be liable for imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding ten thousand baht (THB 10,000) (currently 310 USD), or both."

        Section 106 states: "Section 106 A Registrar of a political party who falsely records the name of any person for membership of that political party under Section 19 paragraph two, or any Leader or Registrar of a political party who falsifies the political party’s membership register under Section 19 paragraph three, shall be liable for imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding twenty thousand baht (THB 20,000) (currently 320 USD), or both."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Chapter 6 of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

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        MODERATE
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        The Election Commission has the power to impose sanctions on individuals that breach election law, either independently, or by filing a motion to either the Constitutional or Supreme Court.

        For example, Section 103 of the Organic Law on Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators states: "Prior to the announcement of the result of election, if the Election Commission considers that, after an investigation and inquiry, there is evidence that any candidate acted in violation of this Organic Act, a Regulation or a Notification of the Election Commission, or the circumstances suggest that any candidate caused another person to commit such act, supported or connived at such act of another person, or knew of and did not abate such act, and if the Election Commission considers that such act is likely to cause the election to be dishonest and unfair, the Election Commission shall order the derogation of the rights of candidacy for every candidate who committed such an act for a period of one year effective as from the date of the Election Commission order."

        "If there appears convincing evidence that a leader or a member of the Executive Committee of political party connive at or neglect or has known of but does not abate or rectify, for the purpose of an honest and fair election, the act under paragraph one, the political party shall be deemed as committing an act to obtain powers to rule the country by means not in accordance with the modus operandi as provided in the Constitution. In such case, the Election Commission shall, under the Organic Act on Political Parties, file a motion with the Constitutional Court in order to dissolve the political party."

        In other words, the Election Commission would ordinarily have the power to independently refer alleged criminal breaches of Thailand's election laws to the courts. However, the constitution was abrogated by the military junta on May 22, 2014, when it took power in a coup. The junta has announced that the Election Commission would follow the same procedures outlined in the 2007 constitution, however this is no longer enshrined in law. At this point, the EC cannot be described as an independent body in making such decisions.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. According to the NCPO announcement 57/2557, the Organic Law on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators is still technically in force. However, any elections of MPs or Senators are suspended.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Section 103 of The Organic Act on the Election of Members of the House of Representatives and the Installation of Senators 2007, http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0344.pdf

        Section 6 of the Organic Act on Political Parties 2007, http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/asia/TH/thailand-organic-act-on-political-parties-b.e./view

        2007 Constitution of Thailand (currently defunct), article 232, http://www.asianlii.org/th/legis/const/2007/1.html

        Announcement of the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council No. 11/2557, Subject: Termination of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, http://thaicoup2014.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/thaicoup-all-ncpo-announcements-in-one-place/

        Ministry of foreign Affairs, Announcement of the National Council for Peace and Order, No. 57/2557, Subject: the Continuing Validity of Certain Organic Laws, June 13, 2014, http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/media-center/3756/46572-Announcement-of-the-National-Council-for-Peace-and.html

        Reviewer's sources: NCPO annoucement no. 57/2557 (2014) http://www.thaigov.go.th/en/announcement-2/item/83931-id83931.html

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        100
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        In recent years, several kinds of sanctions have been imposed on individuals and political parties deemed to have violated election and political finance laws. The most prominent example would be the prosecution of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the dissolution of his party, Thai Rak Thai, in 2006. Even though serious questions have been raised over the independence of Thailand's judiciary, political parties abide by these rulings. In March 2014, the Constitutional Court annulled the February elections, claiming they violated the country's election laws.

        The Election Commission also has the authority to "red card" or "yellow card" members of parliament, who are found to have committed electoral fraud. In June, a former Pheu Thai MP was banned from politics for 10 years for offering people rice in exchange for their votes in the 2011 election. During the studied period, there was no example of MPs ignoring these rulings.


        Peer Reviewer comment: Agree. On the dissolution or party (paragraph 1), there are other political parties that were dissolved at the same time as Thai Rak Thai. These parties are the Prachatipatai Kaona Party, Patana Chat Thai Party, and Thai Ground Party.

        It's noteworthy that the ruling of "red card" and "yellow card" is 2 fold. On one hand it's seen that it is an effective mechanism to combat election fraud. On the other hand it's seen as politics as usual - the EC always shows bias toward one side or another.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Bangkok Post, "Red card for former Pheu Thai MP", July 23, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/421996/red-card-for-former-pheu-thai-mp

        Phone Interview with Dr Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, former expert at the Election Commission of Thailand, August 15, 2014

        Reviewer's sources: "OAG proposes dissolution of Democrat, Thai Rak Thai, 3 other parties", The Nation, June 27, 2006, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/06/27/headlines/headlines_30007427.php

        "Historical rulings unfold" The Nation, 30 May 2007, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2007/05/30/headlines/headlines_30035565.php

        "Thai ex-PM banned from politics", BBC News, 30 May 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6704083.stm

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        --
        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        Over the past decade, the Thai courts have annulled two national elections and twice dissolved a Thaksin-affiliated political party for alleged electoral fraud. In 2008, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was ousted for appearing on a Thai cooking show. In May 2014, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from office for acting "with a hidden agenda" when transferring a civil servant in 2011. Over the same time period, the Democrat party has twice escaped dissolution by the Constitutional Court, despite two serious investigations about illegal donations. Dr Paul Chambers from Chiang Mai University has described Thailand as a "juristocricy" in which the courts are used to enforce the interests of the traditional political elite.

        The EC has also been accused of bias by "red-shirt" leaders and Pheu Thai party officials. This is most evident from the EC's apparent support for anti-government protesters in late 2013, as well as its ongoing collaboration with the military junta's undemocratic reform process. However, in terms of political finance regulations, enforcement is usually quite strong. Even some "yellow-shirt" academics have described the EC's enforcement capabilities as "too strong". Its tough response to the TPI Polene scandal shows that it is sometimes willing to take action against the Democrats too.

        During the studied period, the EC has handed out various penalties to politicians found to have breached electoral rules. For example, former Pheu Thai MP Chuwit Pitakpornpal was red-carded in January after being found guilty of illegal electioneering in the 2011 elections. In August 2014, Senatorial candidate Leena Jungjunja was red carded for making deceptive claims during her election campaign. However, it has been noted that the Democrat party has received proportionately fewer "red cards" than the Pheu Thai party, raising concerns about bias. Red-shirt supporters have also expressed anger that the EC is pursuing investigations into Yingluck's alleged misuse of state resources during the February elections, but has taken no action against politicians who openly disrupted the poll.

        Many areas need reform according to political finance experts, including the ECT itself. Thailand needs more transparent and targeted oversight mechanisms (including reporting requirements) for campaign expenses and party donations as the self-reporting system appears to be failing. Election laws should be updated to include more specific details on what constitutes a donation both outside and during campaign periods. The ECT needs to become a completetly independent body, which enjoys trust from across the political spectrum, while Thailand's judiciary also needs significant reform.


        Peer reviewer comment: The problem of bias in Thai politics is certainly important to address. However, to say that all bias is towards/against one particular side (red shirts vs. yellow shirts) is a bit exaggerated. To answer this question in the context of Thai politics, one must understand the political situation in Thailand since 1997. There have been intertwined problems between the elite, Thaksin supporters, the military,yellow shirts, and red shirts. Political finance regulations have been unevenly enforced. But to accuse the ECT or the Constitutional Court of particular bias is not correct -- both entitites have demonstrated bias both towards and against both the yellow shirts and the red shirts throughout the past 20 years.

        As a result, if the goal is to make the country's political finance system strong and effective, the most important thing is to enshrine a system of accountability, and to grant easy access to all relevant information. At present, there are laws in place, but the public in practice can access political finance information only with difficulty (both from primary sources, ie parties and politicians, and from secondary sources, ie the ECT, the NACC, etc.). To make political finance information publicly available is the most urgent area of reform.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Bangkok Post, EC Gives Leena 'red card', August 15, 2014, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/426946/ec-gives-leena-red-card

        The Nation, "EC red cards Pheu Thai MP Karun for slander", June 21, 2012, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/EC-red-cards-Pheu-Thai-MP-Karun-for-slander-30184584.html

        Phone interview with Dr Thawilwadee Bureekul, Director of the Research and Development Office, King Prajadhipok Institute, August 13, 2014.

        Phone interview with Dr Paul Chambers, Professor at Chiang Mai University and expert on political finance, 5 August 2014.

        Reviewer's sources: In person interview: LT.COL. Sadudee Pavaputanon, Director-General, Department of Political Party Affairs and Referendum, November 3, 2014 Mr. Anuchit Prasatthong, Director-General, Department of State Assistance Administration, November 3, 2014

        The Nation, "Supreme Court Drops Charge Against Former EC Commissioner," June 13, 2013 http://nationmultimedia.com/politics/Supreme-Court-drops-charge-against-former-EC-commi-30208210.html

        The Nation, "Three Years for Attempted Bribery in Thai Rak Thai," December 25, 2014 http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Three-years-for-attempted-bribery-in-Thai-Rak-Thai-30250621.html

        Bangkok Post, "Ex-Policeman Gets 3 Years for Bribe in TRT Wind-Up Case," December 25, 2014 http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/452020/ex-policeman-gets-3-years-for-bribe-offer-in-trt-wind-up-case

Thai parliament is a bicameral parliament. It is composed of two chamber – Senate (Upper House) and House of Representatives (Lower House). An electoral system that is employed for Senate’s election (77 seats out of 150) is a plurality system (first past the post). The remaining of 73 seats is appointed. A mixed-electoral system or to be specific ‘Mixed-Member-Majoritarian’ is an electoral system for a House of Representatives. A House of Representatives consists of 500 MPs, which 375 MPs are elected in a single-member district throughout the country using a plurality system (FPTP) and the remaining 125 MPs are elected in a nation-wide party list using proportional representation system with no minimum threshold. For the party list, it is an open list that each party has to submit to the Election Commission before the last day of candidacy submission. However, a party may not need to submit a list of 125 candidates for a party list submission (meaning that it can sumit less than 125 candidates for party list). A calculation method for allocating seats in party list is a highest averages methods or the D’Hondt method.

A February 2, 2014 general election is the most recent election in Thailand as a result of an announcement of dissolution of parliament by the PM Yingluck Shinawatra on December 9, 2013. A string of political crises has led to this early election. Before an election day, there were several concerns about whether a general election should be postponed due to political crises and difficulties in electoral administration. During a period of candidacy registration, an opposition who called for a boycott of this election had disrupted a registration process – by preventing candidate to enter a registration venue, which this event turned violence or by blocking a transportation convoy of ballots, in many parts of Thailand. It is noteworthy that ‘Democrat Party’ an oldest and major political party in Thailand also boycotted this election. An election, however, has proceeded as scheduled – though some of the poll stations were blocked by protesters.

Because of violence and disruption between pro and anti-government protestors during a period of election and on an Election Day (and political atmosphere in general), a state ombudsman filed a petition to the constitutional court to rule on this matter. On March 21, 2014 Thailand’s Constitutional court ruled that February 2 election is invalid. As a result, political crisis was still continuing and deepening. Until, May 20, 2014 the Army declared martial law followed by a coup d’état on May 22, 2014.