Wednesday, January 09, 2008

EC disqualifies two Chart Thai party winners

EC disqualifies two Chart Thai party winners

Poll agency gives out 10 more yellow cards


The Election Commission has disqualified two winning candidates of the Chart Thai party and issued 10 more yellow cards to winners suspected of cheating in the Dec 23 election, EC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiygarn said yesterday. The poll agency issued red cards to Monthian Songpracha and Nanthana Songpracha, winning Chart Thai candidates in constituency 1 of Chai Nat.

The People Power party (PPP) has been given the most yellow cards, with eight of the 10 issued going to its candidates. The other two were issued to winning candidates from the Democrats and Chart Thai.

All PPP poll winners given yellow cards stood in Udon Thani's three constituencies.

They are Pol Lt Surathin Pimarnmekin, Cherdchai Wichianwan and Anant Sriphan in constituency 1; Theerachai Saengkaew, Thongdee Maneesarn and Torpong Chaiyasarn in constituency 2; and Prasop Busarakam and Chakkrapat Chaiyasarn in constituency 3.

Yellow cards have also been given to Suthas Chansaengsri, a winning Democrat candidate in Phetchabun's constituency 1, and Chart Thai's Bantoon Kiartkongchuchai in Chaiyaphum's constituency 2.

Dates for by-elections in Chai Nat, Phetchabun and Udon Thani have not yet been fixed.

However, the by-election in Nakhon Ratchasima will be held this Sunday, the Buri Ram poll on Jan 17 and the by-election in Lampang on Jan 20, the poll agency announced.

Yellow-carded candidates can stand for re-election. Red-carded winners cannot and the party cannot field substitutes.

The EC's decision to issue yellow cards drew angry responses from Mr Cherdchai and Mr Anant, the PPP candidates in Udon Thai's constituency 1.

Both allege they were framed using false evidence.

Yesterday, the Council of State agreed to uphold the EC's decision to disqualify three PPP candidates in Buri Ram's constituency 1, saying the decision was in full compliance with the law.

Election commissioner Praphan Naikowit said the poll agency issued red cards based on evidence.

He denied allegations that the EC did not give those accused of electoral fraud the opportunity to explain themselves to the poll agency.

Buri Ram deputy governor Kasem Wattanatham, chief of the provincial election panel, said he would press charges against those behind a rally to protest against the disqualification of the three winning PPP candidates and who accused the poll agency of inventing false evidence on Jan 4.

A source in Buri Ram said vehicles of local administrative bodies in the province were used to take villagers to the protest.

Buri Ram election officials have also filed a charge against former Thai Rak Thai MP Prasaeng Mongkolsiri, who yesterday distributed VCDs of a speech by ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the run-up to the by-election in the northeastern province.

Mr Prasaeng, who recently resigned from the PPP after distributing VCDs in his home province of Uthai Thani last month, re-launched his campaign for Mr Thaksin by giving the VCDs to people in Buri Ram town.

The officials said the distribution was inappropriate at a time when the province is preparing for a new round of balloting as well as a local election for members and the chief of the provincial administration organisation on Jan 20.

''This is an individual right. It is nothing to do with politics,'' Mr Prasaeng said

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