Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday criticised Election Commission member Sodsri Satayathum for the remarks she made about the decision to disqualify Pheu Thai MP Karun Hosakul.
Abhisit, who is also leader of the Democrat Party, said it was improper for Sodsri to defend her minority position on the matter, adding that some politicians could use her remarks to their political advantage.
“The EC as a whole should explain this matter, or there would be confusion among the public. The agency has already made its decision, but an EC member is trying to defend her minority stance while the majority members are not explaining their side,” Abhisit said.
The election watchdog decided to disqualify Karun, who won in last year’s election in Bangkok’s Constituency 12, for slandering Democrat candidate Tankhun Jit-issara in his campaign speeches.
Sodsri said later that the EC had rejected all other complaints of slander filed against election winners, and that Karun was the first to be disqualified by the agency. She also said that as far as she could remember the Supreme Court’s Division on Electoral Litigation had never tried a case in which the election winner was accused of slandering his competitor.
However, Abhisit disagreed, saying that Democrat MP Supachai Jaisamut had been “red-carded” – or disqualified – by the EC for slandering his election rival. The Democrat leader said the law was clear about punishing any election candidates found to have caused a misunderstanding leading to the competitor losing out in popularity stakes.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit said yesterday that the ruling party had not decided on its candidate for the resulting by-election because the Supreme Court had yet to endorse the EC decision on Karun.
Yongyuth said Pheu Thai would wait for the court’s decision on the case before picking the candidate. “We will have to act respectfully towards Karun. It is good etiquette for the wife and children not to discuss the inheritance while the ailing man is still alive,” he said.
Red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan, who was recently disqualified as Pheu Thai party-list MP for failing to vote in last year’s general election, said yesterday that the EC had made the decision while one of its five members was absent. As for him becoming a Pheu Thai candidate in the by-election, Jatuporn said he wanted Karun to remain an MP, though if the Supreme Court does endorse his removal, he would be happy to contest for the post.