Sirichok denies breaking election rules
Democrat MP Sirichok Sopha has dismissed allegations about being involved in the alleged violation of electoral rules in connection with the Bangkok gubernatorial race."I believe the allegation is false because I have never attacked Pheu Thai candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen," he said.
Sirichok added that a campaign photograph of him, posted on the Internet, had been doctored. He added that though he referred to the "burning down of Bangkok" in his comments, his remarks should not be construed as a frame-up or moves to defame the ruling party.
Previous judicial rulings show that such comments are not in violation of the libel provisions, he said.
He also brought up the issue of Deputy Commerce Minister Nathawut Saikua helping Pongsapat in his campaign. "It is general understanding that Natthawut is seen as a red-shirt leader with links to the 2010 political violence," he said.
Sirichok also said that in the 2011 general election, Natthawut had branded the Democrats as "killers of the people" and the Election Commission ruled that such branding was acceptable according to the Constitution.
Meanwhile, academic Seri Wongmontha, in his Facebook messages, has insisted on his right as a Thai citizen to publicly support Sukhumbhand.
He pointed out that he was not a member or an executive of the Democrat Party, nor had he ever been involved in the party's public relations work.
Seri asked whether it was even "logical" for the Election Commission to suspend an election winner just because his supporters voiced their support via the social media. In fact, he wondered if it was even sensible for the EC to waste time investigating this issue.
"What has happened to this country?" he asked, adding that several other people had posted similar comments on Facebook.
Seri went on to say that his accusers might have possibly though that he had been paid to campaign for Sukhum-bhand. "Don't think that everyone works for money. There are also people who do things for their ideology and belief," he said.
Seri, a prominent gay personality, is an expert in mass communications and marketing, who also appears on the pro-Democrat, satellite-based Blue Sky Channel television.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobam-rung said he hoped for a new election - one that the Pheu Thai candidate could win.
However, he said, he would not pressure the EC to disqualify Sukhumbhand, adding he was not worried about protests. "People have to respect the rules," he said.