Bangkok candidates warned not to show voter love with roses

With an election looming, candidates were warned not to overdo the expressions of love for potential voters on Valentine’s Day.

A top elections official cautioned those on the May ballot not to give out roses today because it could be deemed “vote buying” and in violation of rules prohibiting gift giving in the run-up to Election Day.

“I know it’s a special day, so someone may make a mistake or forget to think about this, so please be careful. Don’t violate the laws,” said Samran Tanpanich, head of the Bangkok Election Commission.

Samran said if his team gets a complaint over alleged corruption, the committee will immediately probe the circumstances. He said even a rose could motivate people to give up their vote. 

While it seems unlikely that someone would punch their V-card (as in “vote”) in exchange for a flower, election law forbids politicians from giving items of commercial value.

As for the value, anyone who’s tried to buy a last-minute rose today has had to fork out many hundreds of baht or more.

“It’s better not to [give] any item at all,” Samran said.

After Chinese New Year, where just a few weeks ago everyone was handing out red envelopes stuffed with cash, Sanran said his team received no vote-buying complaints.

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