POLITICS / DEMOCRATS HOLD BACK
Poll panel issues three more yellow cards
MONGKOL BANGPRAPA and THEERAWAT KHAMTHITA
The Election Commission issued three more yellow cards yesterday to winning candidates of the Puea Pandin and People Power parties suspected of vote buying in the Dec 23 general election.
Election commissioner Sumeth Upanisakorn said a by-election would be organised in Nakhon Ratchasima's constituency 6, where the victories of Meechai Jitpipat and Polpi Suwanchawee, both of Puea Pandin, have been annulled.
A by-election would also be held in Chaiyaphum, where Surawit Konsomboon, a PPP candidate in constituency 2, was also yellow-carded.
The dates have not been fixed.
The poll agency had so far endorsed 424 winning candidates, election commissioner Praphan Naikowit said.
He also said the commission would not interfere in the poll fraud case involving PPP deputy leader Yongyuth Tiyapairat, which is now being handled by a special sub-panel led by former Constitution Court judge Suwit Thirapong.
''The panel will be given a free hand to handle the case,'' he said.
However, Mr Yongyuth missed his appointment with the inquiry panel yesterday.
He was due to watch the video used as evidence to back up allegations he was involved in poll fraud.
He said the panel had agreed to let him view it tomorrow. He did not say whether he would show up.
Mr Yongyuth said he would today hand a letter to the Election Commission asking for the transfer of Pol Maj-Gen Songtham Alapach, the Chiang Rai provincial police chief, and some military officers, out of Chiang Rai province to ensure a fair investigation of the case against him.
Amornpong Wichitakul, director of the Chiang Rai election office, said a close watch was being kept on the movements of influential people since a kamnan in tambon Chanchwa of Mae Chan district levelled allegations of vote buying against Mr Yongyuth.
Chaiwat Changkaokham asked for police protection because he feared for his life. He was one of the 10 local leaders questioned by the poll agency about Mr Yongyuth's alleged poll fraud.
The EC has so far issued 18 yellow cards and seven red cards.
On Jan 17, a poll re-run will be held in Buri Ram's constituency 1 and Chaiyaphum constituency 2; on Jan 20 in Prachin Buri's constituency 1, Lampang's constituencies 1, 2 and 3, Udon Thani's constituency 6, Phetchabun's constituency 1, Chai Nat's constituency 1 and Nakhon Ratchasima's constituency 6.