Friday, January 11, 2008

PPP shrugs off red cards


PPP shrugs off red cards

Asks voters to support replacements

Published on January 5, 2008

People Power Party (PPP) deputy leader Sompong Amornwiwat said yesterday that if a red card was issued to any of his party's candidates, the party hoped people would vote for one of the PPP's allies.

Three PPP candidates in the Buri Ram Constituency 1 were disqualified last week.

The Election Commission further suspended 65 of the winning PPP candidates on Thursday on suspicion of cheating.

Sompong said the party believed the people would still vote for PPP's allies in the by-election, which will be held on January 13.

The PPP candidates in Nakhon Ratchasima Constituency 3 were issued yellow cards last week and are eligible to run in the by-elections.

Sompong said that though candidates who received red cards would be ineligible to run again, it would not affect the party in forming a government because voters would turn to other parties allied to the PPP.

A PPP source said the party was ready to support candidates from allied parties to ensure the formation of a government if PPP candidates were issued red cards.

Meanwhile, party secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee said the party would assist its 65 MPs-elect to rebut charges relating to electoral fraud in order to pave the way for the endorsement of the balloting results,

"The party is not worried about the large number of results being investigated by the EC because it is confident that its MPs-elect were not involved in any wrongdoing that would warrant red cards being issued.

"The only surprise I have is that the number of the 65 disputed results is so close to the prediction made by the Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thuagsuban," he said.

Sukhumpong Ngonkham, PPP deputy secretary-general, said it was the nature of voters to vote for other candidates whom they favour less than the winning candidates.

Therefore, if the PPP candidate is red carded, a candidate from another party will have the chance to win.

"We do not have tactics should our candidates receive red cards. We believe people in the Northeast and the North will not vote for a PPP rival [Democrat]. They understand which parties are allies of the PPP," he said.

Nine of the Buriram MPs elected from the PPP who were endorsed and then suspended yesterday filed charges with the Buri Ram police against the provincial election commission.

The MPs believe that the evidence produced by the commission, which resulted in their suspension, is false.

Three disqualified People Power Party candidates in Buri Ram Constituency 1, joined 10,000 supporters to rally at the Buri Ram election commission office to protest against the red cards.

Prakit Poldet, Pornchai Srisuriyanyothin and Rungroj Thongsri argued that the commission had not allowed them to rebut the charges relating to electoral fraud.

They said the probe against them was conducted in an unfair manner.

The Nation

The supporters signed petitions asking for the withdrawal of the Buri Ram EC.

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