Voting or at a 'picnic', stars were flat out

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Anti-government protesters hold "No Vote" stickers and Thai baht banknotes to donate to leader during march in Bangkok

THAILAND - Thais have been making political statements on their social media sites lately, but the phenomenon reached new heights yesterday.

Despite the low vote turnout and election obstacles, one could not assume that yesterday's ballot was not much anticipated. As it turned out, celebrities and leading figures in society decided to make a "voting" statement of their own on social networks. Indeed, it is unprecedented how everyone has had something to say about this election and wants to be heard.

What was missing prior to the election yesterday was TV commercials featuring celebrities campaigning for the poll. They used to be the faces of an election, calling all Thais to exercise their right.

This time around not all of them sung the same tune. A number of celebrities used their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts to tell their fans they decided not to vote, or that they went to vote, or could not vote.

A clear statement from actress Sinjai Plengpanich said on her Instagram as she posted a photo with her husband Chatchai and said they were going for a "picnic" - which represented a mass gathering of anti-government protesters.

Celebrity teacher Kitmanoch "Khru Lilly" Rojanasab posted on Instagram and Facebook that 'he' loves democracy dearly but would not vote this time. Filmmaker Yongyoot Thongkongtoon also posted on Facebook that he thought it through and would not to vote this time. Actress Pattarida "Tangmo" Patcharaveerapong said she was not available for an election, as she had to take care of her pet dog.

Scenario executive Takolkiat "Boy" Viravan posted on social media that he could not cast a vote as he was not in the country. "I am worried for Thailand's situation," he said.

Noticeably, there were fewer of photos of actors and actresses casting ballots compared to previous general elections. But still those who did vote also went to social media to spread the news. Rocker Seksan "Sek Loso" Sukpimai cast a vote and uploaded his photo to his fans on Facebook. "I exercise my vote as always and I respect all the voices of all Thai people," he wrote.

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Payungsak Charnduayida, an executive of Voice TV, also posted a ballot-casting photo on Facebook.

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