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BANGKOK 21 June 2019 04:07
webfact

Court to decide today on accepting petition to disqualify Thanathorn

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Court to decide today on accepting petition to disqualify Thanathorn

By THE NATION

 

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Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL Court will today make a decision on whether or not it will accept the petition to disqualify Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit following a controversy over the timing of his handing over of media shares – which could result in the court barring the anti-junta politician from entering Parliament tomorrow.

 

The development came after the Election Commission (EC) submitted the case to court, asking it to rule on whether Thanathorn had breached the Constitution and electoral laws prohibiting MP candidates from holding shares in media companies. 

 

 

If found guilty, he will not only lose his MP seat and be banned from politics for 20 years, but can also face a jail term of up to 10 years.

 

If the court decides to accept the case today, it is also possible that Thanathorn will be prohibited from entering Parliament tomorrow as an MP. It is within the court’s jurisdiction to ban the politician from office until the case is settled.

 

Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, who previously taught law at Thammasat University, questioned if the process was just as he compared Thanathorn’s case with that of Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.

 

Don had been accused of a similar wrongdoing, when his wife held shares in a media company. 

 

In Don’s case, the EC had taken more than 400 days to submit the case with the Constitutional Court, while in Thanathorn’s case, it took less than 60 days, Piyabutr noted, asking whether the two politicians had been treated equally by the agency.

 

The Election Commission was appointed by the junta-led government. 

 

The former law professor also slammed the poll authority for trying to disqualify Thanathorn as an MP, saying the EC had no authority to do so as the law only allowed for it to check candidates’ qualifications up until the last day before the elections. In this case, he said, it would have been March 23. 

 

The complaint about Thanathorn holding media shares taken to the EC two days after the election, Piyabutr said. He also pointed out that the agency had endorsed Thanathorn as an MP candidate before the elections, and it was impossible for it to now turn around and try to disqualify his candidacy. 

 

“According to law, his status as an MP began on the day of the election,” the law expert explained. “The EC has absolutely no authority to disqualify him now. He is no longer just a candidate.”

 

However, since the case is already with the court, Piyubutr said the only thing the court can do today is accept or dismiss it. 

 

If the court does decide to take on the case, it cannot suspend Thanathorn from his work as an MP just yet, Piyabutr said, adding that Don had been given a whole month to explain himself in court before any decision was made. 

 

“After that the court decided not to suspend Don from office, reasoning that the case did not affect the administration,” he said, adding that the very same standards should be applied to his party’s leader.

 

The professor also pointed out that Thanathorn did not lack qualifications when it came to the election race, adding that he had transferred all his shares in January and held no media shares on the day he applied to contest in the election. 

 

Thanathorn’s disqualification threat is among the many cases Future Forward is facing after its successful debut in the March 24 election. The party did much better than the pundits predicted, winning over 6 million votes and more than 80 seats in the lower house, and also attracting votes in Democrat strongholds in Bangkok. 

 

In a latest case, a complaint was filed with the EC earlier this week that the party may have illegally taken a loan of Bt110 million from its leader. Pro-junta figure Seri Suwannapanon said if the complaint is successful, it will result in the dissolution of Future Forward. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/politics/30369845

 

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26 minutes ago, Chang_paarp said:

Have they not learned from previous experience?

Banning and exiling rich folk from politics does not always go well.

Considering how badly it went with one guy, I think banning and exiling was far too mild.

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18 minutes ago, cornishcarlos said:

I am probably missing something here, but surely it must be on record when he transferred his shares ?

If that was before the cut off date, he is good to go. If after the date, then he's up the creek..

Why the need for Constitutional Court involvement ? Are they the only ones who can read the dates !!!

The paperwork says the correct date however Thanathorn was in Korat (?) on the day of the transfer, so the powers that be are claiming it was backdated transfer. He drove back to BKK on the date rather than fly and they are claiming it is not possible to be in 2 places at once.

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34 minutes ago, cornishcarlos said:

I am probably missing something here, but surely it must be on record when he transferred his shares ?

If that was before the cut off date, he is good to go. If after the date, then he's up the creek..

Why the need for Constitutional Court involvement ? Are they the only ones who can read the dates !!!

More likely they're the only ones to be told to make it appear in a negative light in this last ditch attempt.

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If as expected they "get" him expect the announcement from both the dems and BJP that they will finally be confirming later today they will be joining the junta- for the good of the country of course.

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1 hour ago, Chang_paarp said:

The paperwork says the correct date however Thanathorn was in Korat (?) on the day of the transfer, so the powers that be are claiming it was backdated transfer. He drove back to BKK on the date rather than fly and they are claiming it is not possible to be in 2 places at once.

Yes and they will be able to prove it by dated pictures of where he was in respect to all of this which will have full range to hang him. Same as they hung the CM candidate who gave a couple thousand baht to a temple for merit, but they said was otherwise. If they want him or anyone bad enough, they will get them. But what is totally wrenching is that they - the Junta are totally shielded untouchables but they have created so much more foul more than all of the candidates and groups combined.

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

the agency had endorsed Thanathorn as an MP candidate before the elections, and it was impossible for it to now turn around and try to disqualify his candidacy. 

And did so with all the evidence against his qualification as a candidate already known publicly.

If the EC ignored that evidence or remained deliberately ignorant of that evidence in its qualification review process, the EC is the one to be held accountable. At no point did the EC explain why it qualified Thanathorn as a PM candidate before the election.

 

EC members should be terminated immediately and for the next 20 years banned from EC for incompetence. Otherwise, it would be reasonable that the EC accepted Thanathorn's as a qualified candidate despite the alleged evidence against him and the court must refuse to rule on the case. If the EC is allowed to reverse itself after an election to change vote results, it loses all credibility in its pretense to be a democratic institution.

 

This doesn't mean that Thanathorn would then become an MP without further scrutiny.

If a complaint is made subsequently with the NACC, it can prosecute Thanathorn as a public office-holder. But that would be for crimes committed after assuming office!

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Bloody amazing isn't it, how long ago was the Thai election and they are still trying to arrange the deck chairs - just last week the Aussie went to the pole - with an election result the same day - not long after the polling stations closed,  wonder how that was done? 

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