Sunday, August 18, 2019

Junta figures deny using power to gain poll edge

Jul 03. 2018
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
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KEY JUNTA figures yesterday shrugged off a Pheu Thai Party accusation that the government is using its power to gain an advantage ahead of the next general election.

Pheu Thai claimed that government figures allowed a pro-Prayut group to make political moves freely while other parties are being restricted by the junta ban on political activities.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said the government figures accused by Pheu Thai did nothing wrong.

“I have no party. Why did they link me to this matter? I didn’t do anything. They may complain if they like. We have not done anything wrong,” said Prawit, who is also the defence minister and a leader of the ruling junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that he has not joined any political group or party.

Pheu Thai filed its complaint with the EC on Monday, alleging that a political group called Sam Mit (Three Friends) was wooing former MPs to join a new political party named Palang Pracharat, which supports Prayut’s return |as head of a post-election government. 

Pheu Thai politician Suchart Lainam-ngoen, who filed the petition on the party’s behalf, said many government figures are behind Palang Pracharat, including Prawit and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.

“Although Palang Pracharat has not yet officially become a political party, it is taking advantage over other parties,” Suchart said.

He claimed that the accused |government figures had violated the Constitution by abusing their power in encouraging Sam Mit leaders and veteran politicians Suriya Juengruangruangkit and Somsak Thepsuthin to persuade former members of parliament to defect to Palang Pracharat. 

Suchart also said Suriya and Somsak violated the Political Party Act by offering benefits to former MPs in exchange for future defections.

Prawit also said that the junta would lift its ban on political activities only after the prime minister meets party representatives in September.

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