Monday, July 18, 2011

EC to endorse new MPs tomorrow

Published: 18/07/2011 at 05:52 PM
Online news: Election

The Election Commission will decide on Tuesday whether to endorse likely prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party and outgoing prime minister and Democrat caretaker leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, EC member Somchai Juengprasert said on Monday.

Outgoing Prime Minister and Democrat Party caretaker leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

Mr Somchai said the EC will tomorrow announce the next batch of MPs whose results it can endorse, after investigating complaints against them.

MPs-elect to be scrutinised during the EC meeting tomorrow include Ms Yingluck, Mr Abhisit and some key members of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) who won seats on the Pheu Thai party list, Mr Somchai said.

The EC is investigating allegations that Ms Yingluck allowed certain banned politicians to assist her in the election campaign and that Mr Abhisit was involved in a form of vote-buying when he approved a ``Blue Flag'' trade fair in Samut Prakan on June 26, the day of advance voting.

The endorsement of UDD co-leaders such as Natthawut Saikua and Weng Tojirakarn has been delayed because they were jailed on terrorism charges for their roles in the red shirt rallies last year and then released on bail.

The EC has so far endorsed 358 successful election candidates.

The commission must verify at least 475 MPs, or 95 per cent of the overall 500, within 30 days of the July 3 election if the House is to convene for the first time.

Mr Somchai said it is up to the majority of the EC to decide whether to clear the winning candidates of the allegations and endorse their election victories.

He dismissed suggestions that the EC has come under pressure to suspend the endorsement of Ms Yingluck's MP status.

The EC's decision is based on evidence and delay in endorsement of election victories has stemmed from numerous complaints, Mr Somchai said.

Pheu Thai Party's candidate for prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

He agreed that enough MPs should be endorsed for the new House to convene and for the country to move forward. The endorsed MPs can be disqualified later if they are found to have cheated in the poll, Mr Somchai said.

Meanwhile, the New Democracy Party today issued a statement calling for the EC to endorse its single MP-elect on the party list.

The party made the plea for justice after it was reported that it would possibly be dissolved because its leader, Surathin Picharn, had been declared bankrupt by the court and therefore stripped of election rights.

Mr Surathin said he had resigned as the party leader as ordered by the court.

He insisted that the New Democracy Party had been properly registered and certified by EC chairman Apichart Sukkhagganond. The party had fully complied with the law in applying to compete in the election, he said.

Following the July 3 election, New Democracy was entitled to one House seat in the party list system.

Since Mr Surathin, the No 1 on the party's list, had been disqualified, the seat should instead go to Patcharin Manpan, the No 2 party list candidate.

With potentially one MP on the party list, New Democracy had been named the sixth party to join the Pheu Thai-led coalition government, raising the total numbr of MPs to 300.

But if New Democracy were to be dissolved then the Social Action Party, which came next in the number of votes received in the party list system, that would instead be entitled to the House seat.

If this was the case, the seat would go to Suwit Khunkitti, the No 1 Social Action party list candidate.

Mr Suwit is currently the caretaker natural resources and environment minister in the outgoing government led by Mr Abhisit.

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