Five PDRC co-leaders lose MP status in court ruling
The Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that five co-leaders of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) have lost their status as members of Parliament and ordered by-elections in Chumphon and Songkhla to replace the removed MPs.
The five comprise three Democrat Party MPs – Chumphon MP Chumphol Julsai, party-list MP Issara Somchai and Songkhla MP Thaworn Senneam. The other two, both party-list MPs, are from the Palang Pracharath Party – Buddhipongse Punakanta and Nataphol Teepsuwan.
The Criminal Court on February 24 sentenced the five and others for up to five years in prison for their roles in the PDRC protests from 2013 to 2014 that led to the coup which ousted the Pheu Thai Party-led government.
Following the verdict, Thaworn, Buddhipongse and Nataphol had to quit their positions as deputy transport minister, digital economy and society minister and education minister, respectively. They were later released on bail and filed an appeal, while their MP status awaited judgement by the Constitutional Court.
Now, the court on Wednesday ruled that the roles of the five as members of Parliament should be terminated retroactively from April 7, 2021.
The court also ordered by-elections in Chumphon’s constituency 1 and Songkhla’s constituency 6 to fill the vacant MP positions.
As for the vacant party-listed MP slots, it will be filled by the next candidates on the list of the respective parties.