The Election Commission (EC) is investigating former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s recent phone call to a group of Pheu Thai politicians, which has been viewed by critics as anillegal intervention in the party’s internal affairs.
EC secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said on Monday that he had assigned his deputy, Sawaeng Boonmee, to head a fact-finding investigation of the incident.
Under the new Political Party Act, parties are prohibited from allowing any non-member or outsider to interfere with their internal affairs, either directly or indirectly.
Any political parties found to be in violation of this provision risk being dissolved by order of the Constitutional Court.
Thaksin, who has been in self-exile overseas since 2008, last week was involved in a phone conversation with Pheu Thai politicians while he was in London celebrating the birthday of his sister, ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra.
In the conversation, recorded on video and broadcast in the media, Thaksin was heard predicting Pheu Thai’s election victory and warning its former MPs defecting to a pro-junta party that they would face electoral losses.
He holds no executive position in Pheu Thai but has retained much influence in the party, being referred to as “Big Boss” by many of its politicians.
Jarungvith said it could not be determined whether Pheu Thai had violated the law, as the party had yet to officially accept the outsider’s words as its policy.
Due to the junta ban on political activities, Pheu Thai has been unable to convene any party meeting, he added.
He also said he could not tell at this stage how long the EC’s investigation of the matter would take.