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28 Jan 2005

Thai Economy

Election, 2005: Generating Income of Bt15 Billion

Another nationwide general election will be held on Sunday February 6, 2005. The House of Representatives reached its four-year term on January 6, 2005 with no dissolution of parliament. As a result, the government has enacted the royal decree to hold the general election as stipulated in the Constitution.

Once the Election Commission (EC) opened for political parties and candidates to register, various political parties showed their interest in registering. In the draw for numbers for political parties and candidates, some political parties won the numbers as hoped and as were consistent with their campaigns prepared earlier. Some political parties wanted lucky numbers while others wanted those that are easily remembered that will certainly affect their votes. Each political party's leader drew the number for their parties in the lucky draw.

The coming election race seems to be as intense as in the past. Evidently, each political party has employed all forms of political strategies, i.e., campaigns in communities, door-to-door election-related activities, vehicles with amplifiers running along roads and through villages, chartered trains to provinces, appearing at social functions to win popularity from the general public, not to mention the heavy and strategic use of various media such as TV, newspapers, radio, etc.

Campaigns used in the coming election have displayed some significant changes. Evidently, more marketing strategies and policy-oriented public relations approaches have been adopted. This is particularly true with public relations focusing on the image and personalities of political party leaders or executives that serve like products on sale in the market. So far, photos of those personalities appear on campaign boards almost across the country.

Concerning expenses to be used by each candidate for campaigning purpose, the EC has set the amount at Bt1.5 million, rising considerably from the Bt500,000 allowed for the last election.

However, when considering the money that will be used in the election battle on Sunday, February 6, 2005, KRC forecasts that the circulation money will be around Baht15,000 million*(included the budget of Baht2,380 million that the E.C. used in organizing the election), compared with the money spent in the election in 2001, which was forecasted to be as high as Baht25,000 million because the number of election applicants this time has dropped by 1,433 people, while there are 13 less political parties contesting the election this time compared with the last election, coupled with the fact that the duration for vote campaigning is shorter by 15 days.

The money circulated in the election areas in many parts of Thailand can be summarized as follows:-
  1. The North Eastern area is expected to be around Baht5,900 million
  2. The Bangkok area is expected to be around Baht1,800 million
  3. The Southern area is expected to be around Baht1,700 million
  4. The Central area is expected to be around Baht2,000 million
  5. The Northern area is expected to be around Baht2,800 million
  6. The Eastern area is expected to be around Baht800 million

However, most of the money spent on the election is expected to be dispersed via businesses mostly involved in advertising and public relations, such as printing, publishing, paper, plastic sheets, media advertising planning, jackets, caps, beverages, photography, billboards, plywood, consumer goods, cars and petrol, etc.
The money in the 2005 election
Seats of constituency M.P.
Applicants for constituency M.P.
Competition
Money spent in election*
Parts
(positions)
(people)
(Proportion of M.P.seat per applicants)
(Million Baht)
Bangkok
37
172
1 : 4.7
1,800
Northeastern
138
687
1 : 5.0
5,900
North
78
336
1 : 4.3
2,800
Central
65
228
1 : 3.5
2,000
South
57
196
1 : 3.4
1,700
Eastern
27
88
1 : 3.3
800
Total
400
1,707**
1 : 4.3
15,000

Note : * Duration in spending, calculated from December 2004 to February 2005+expenditure for 580 applicants of party list M.P.s+the E.C. budget in organizing election for Baht2,380 million.

** The amount before deducting 30 of those whose rights are waived from election

Calculated by : Kasikorn Research Center

Thai Economy