Saturday, May 8, 2021

850 Villagers Abstain from Voting Alleging Neglect from Officials in Phitsanulok

The villagers allege that the officials have ignored road improvements.

When: December 20th, 2020

Where: Ban Huai Sai Nuea village at Huai Hia subdistrict, Nakhon Thai district of Phitsanulok province

Perpetrators: Bureaucratic red tape

Victims: The 850 villagers

What: Some interesting election news out of Phitsanulok.

A total of 1 vote was cast for 1 candidate in the Ban Huai Sai Nuea village at Huai Hia subdistrict, Nakhon Thai district of Phitsanulok province on December 20th, 2020.

The details are reported as follows.

There are a total of 850 eligible voters in this village. Only one vote was cast, which happened to be from a police officer in the village.

Authorities in Phitsanulok went to investigate the polling place after receiving reports that no citizens went to vote.

The team went to meet with the village headman and village representatives. The village leaders said that they are aware of the fact that no citizens went to vote. The reason being that in the past, they requested a budget to improve the road that runs to the village, which is almost impossible to travel back and forth on during the rainy season. The road is said to be 6 kilometers.

Each request by the villagers was shot down by the Provincial Administrative Organization. The village leaders stated that they were dissatisfied and decided to abstain from voting.

The officials who oversee the matter, Mr. Nisit Sawatdithep (Sheriff) and Mr. Chaiwat Pradipphet (Senior Permanent Secretary) stated in responded that they poured concrete roads in the past. Further, they have to request permission from the National Park Service and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to do further work because the Ban Huai Sai Nuea village is in the Thung Salaeng Luang National Park.

Therefore, no progress has been made due to legal matters. The officials said they have neglected the matter and they understand the hardship of the villagers. And that they have made road improvements in the past.

The Sheriff stated that if the villagers do not use their right to vote, they will lose their rights. After an hour of negotiation on the matter, the villagers still refused to vote.

Only one police officer at the polling station exercised their right to vote.

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My take: This is a difficult issue because on one hand, the villagers are signaling that they do not want to participate in the system that is in place to resolve these issues. For example, they could have banded together and put up a candidate to represent their cause to fix the roads.

On the other hand, perhaps they feel jaded enough to not even try. The Sheriff’s statement that they will lose their rights if they don’t vote is crystal clear – it seems like the road isn’t going to be fixed any time soon.

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Source: https://www.thairath.co.th/news/local/north/1998356

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