EC rejects call to penalise former Palang Pracharath leader Uttama
Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) has rejected a demand, from political activist Srisuwan Janya, for punitive action to be taken against former leader of the Palang Pracharath party, Uttama Savanayana, for approving the candidature of Sira Jenjaka in the March 2019 General Election.
Sira was stripped of his parliamentary status by the Constitutional Court last December, after it was discovered that he had registered to stand as a candidate, despite being unqualified due to a prior corruption conviction.
In his petition to the EC, Srisuwan, secretary-general of the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution (APTC), demanded that the EC invoke provisions in the Political Parties Act, pertaining to the selection of election candidates, against Uttama.
The provisions, Sections 117-120, stipulate that the leader and executive committee of a political party are to be held accountable if the party fields an unqualified candidate. The maximum penalties are five years in prison and/or a fine of 100,000 baht and revoking of election rights for five years if convicted.
In rejecting Srisuwan’s demand, the EC pointed out that the junta running the country at the time had issued an order in 2017, before the election in 2019, suspending the enforcement of the provisions in question for the first general election held under the Political Parties Act.
Former finance minister Uttama is currently leader of the Sarng Anakot Thai party.