By THE NATION, AFP
THE ELECTION Commission (EC) has accepted a petition seeking the dissolution of Future Forward Party (FWP) and summoned the mover of the petition, social activist Srisuwan Janya, for an initial hearing tomorrow.
Srisuwan is accusing FWP of lying about its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit being a two-term president of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
The misleading information appeared on the party’s official website for nearly half a year, according to Srisuwan, and did not explain that Thanathorn had merely been chief of one of the FTI chapters.
Srisuwan reasoned when he approached the EC late last month that this could mislead voters about Thanathorn’s credentials and encourage them to support him.
The social activist said the EC should ask the Constitutional Court to disband the FWP for what he characterised as dishonesty.
Publication of erroneous information violates the MP-election law and is punishable by a jail sentence of one to 10 years or a fine of Bt20,000 to Bt200,000.
The court could also deprive the wrongdoers of their suffrage rights for 20 years.
Meanwhile, the EC ruled that junta leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha can participate in the election campaign due to his affiliation with the Phalang Pracharat Party, despite his multiple and continuing roles in government and concerns that state resources could be misused.
Opponents of Prayut’s nomination as a PM candidate argue that, as a state official, he should maintain neutrality in the run-up to the election and desist from taking part in Phalang Pracharat’s campaigning.
Hitting the campaign trail
Following the nod from the EC, Prayut will make his campaign debut at a political rally in his home province of Nakhon Ratchasima province on Sunday.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday that Prayut was indeed a state official but he was also a political figure and hence eligible for the nomination.
Wissanu, however, cautioned Prayut against participating in rallies during his normal working hours as PM and to be careful in his public remarks. Prayut is legally bound to remain non-partisan and must make sure he doesn’t misuse state resources for electioneering with Phalang Pracharat, the deputy PM said.
In a related development, Prayut yesterday dropped his latest saccharine pop ballad on the Thai public, pining for the “democratic path” nearly five years after he seized power from the country’s previous elected government.
A former Army chief who wants to return as a civilian premier after the March 24 polls, Prayut has since seizing power in 2014 penned several ditties intended to inspire the nation.
“New Day”, released on YouTube, captures the famously gruff 64-year-old general in a reflective mood.
“We are looking for a new day in Thailand’s history ... towards the democratic path,” says the pop number sung by two soldiers.
“A ‘New Day’ for Thailand is coming so we can solve the mistakes of the past.”