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Pheu Thai wants an answer from EC on poll

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsab

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsab

Pheu Thai Party has demanded that the Election Commission provide a clear answer on campaign expenses for the new election because their MPs, who spent funds already for the February 2 election, could lose if they face spending limits less than their rivals.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsab said the party would send Charupong Ruangsuwan and strategist Bhokin Bhalakula to discuss the new election on Tuesday with the commission and other parties.

He said the party wanted to know how much each MP candidate could spend on their campaign. Some Pheu Thai candidates who took part in the poll in February (annulled later by the Constitutional Court) spent Bt1.2 million on campaigning. The election law bans MP candidates from spending more than Bt1.5 million on campaigns.

Jirayu said if that was the case, Democrat Party MP candidates would have an advantage as they can spend Bt1.5 million in the next poll because they did not take part in the February 2 election.

The party also wanted to know how the EC would react if anti-government protesters try to block a new election with protests.

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the party would send party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Chamni Sakdiset to attend the meeting on Tuesday to discuss how the election can be held as soon as possible. But he said that did not mean the party agreed to take part in a new election.

"Our country is having a political crisis and is not ready to have the election,'' he said.

Chavanond explained that the red shirts were seen as the government's arms and legs and had continuously resorted to threats and intimidation of independent agencies and the Democrats.

He dismissed as a lie a remark made by Ukrit Mongkolnavin, chairman of Thailand's Independent National Rule of Law Commission (NRLC) and former Senate and Parliament President, that a royal command was needed if Yingluck was to step down as caretaker Prime Minister.

Chavanond said when the late ex-premier Samak Sundaravej was dismissed from duty, there was no royal command. "If there are attempts to involve royal power, we will take legal action," he said.

He also accused the government of negligence after red shirt hard-liner Wuthipong Kochathamakun or Ko Tee to flee the country despite being charged with lese majeste.

"If the government ignore this case, we cannot have a peaceful and organised election and the Democrats will not take part in the election,'' he said.

Chart Thai Pattana Party director Nikorn Chamnong welcomed the Democrats' decision to attend the meeting on Tuesday but said he did not personally expect the meeting to yield any concrete outcomes about the new election.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said the meeting on Tuesday would prove the Democrats' sincerity in upholding democracy. "Abhisit is under pressure from the public and other political parties to take part in the election. (If he decides to take part) chief anti-government protester Suthep Thaugsuban will not be able to fully block the election because that would adversely affect his political associates," he said.


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