25 provinces placed under close watch during election

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BANGKOK, June 28 — Thailand’s National Police Bureau has put 25 provinces nationwide under close watch during the general election on Sunday, with Samut Prakan topping the list, having been identified as a ‘deep red zone’ in the fiercely-contested election.

Commandos have been deployed to ensure that the polling will run smoothly, according to a senior police officer.

Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, adviser to the Royal Thai Police and head of election security, said the National Police Bureau had concluded its survey of the security situation on Tuesday, five days before the election, and placed 61 districts in 25 provinces under close watch.

There was reported movement of hired gunmen, an heated electoral competition in the provinces, particularly in Samut Prakarn’s Constituency 7 where Pheu Thai party MP candidate Pracha Prasopdee was attacked by gunmen last month.

Commandos were sent to the 25 provinces to provide security and will protect MP candidates through July 7, he said, adding that the protection will also cover election canvassers.

Gen Pongsapat said that the national police chief ordered special security for many political parties who announced holding their last major rallies on July 1, last minute campaigning before the July 3 election.

He said the police were coordinating with political parties to arrange security plans for them.

Ballot boxes from 66 countries that conducted overseas advance voting have arrived in Bangkok while ballot boxes from 38 countries were in the process of being delivered to Thailand before the election day. If the ballots arrive after that they will be considered voided ballot papers. (MCOT online news)