Thai house speaker found guilty of election fraud

The speaker of Thailand's House of Representatives was found guilty of electoral fraud Tuesday, a ruling that could put the majority party and new government in jeopardy if upheld by the Supreme Court.

Thai house speaker found guilty of election fraud
The Election Commission voted 3-2 to eject Yongyuth Tiiyapairat for vote-buying in his northern Chiang Mai province.

The commission has a duty to investigate the role of the party in election fraud. Yongyuth is also deputy head of the People Power Party, a proxy for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra that won a plurality in the December elections to restore civilian rule.

New Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej claimed an "invisible hand" was trying to destroy the party, perhaps by sabotage via the Election Commission.

Two previous attempts to outlaw the party as an illegal proxy for Thaksin were thrown out of court on technical reasons.

A military junta seized power in September 2006, accusing Thaksin of corruption, tax evasion and inciting civil unrest. His Thai Rak Thai party was outlawed, and he and 110 other party leaders were banned from politics for five years.

Thaksin's supporters formed the People Power Party, which promised to restore the exiled leader, and it swept enough seats to be able to form a coalition government with smaller parties in January. The new cabinet is heavily stacked with relatives and cronies of the banned politicians.

A pro-Thaksin website said Tuesday he would return to Thailand this week, to defend himself against outstanding charges of official misconduct.

It is not clear if the forces opposed to Thaksin - in the military and traditional elites - have the political will to take down his new party and the government through the electoral law, and risk possible violence in the streets.


Bangkok - The speaker of Thailand's House of Representatives was found guilty of electoral fraud Tuesday, a ruling that could put the majority party and new government in jeopardy if upheld by the Supreme Court. The Election Commission voted 3-2 to eject Yongyuth Tiiyapairat for vote-buying in his northern Chiang Mai province.

The commission has a duty to investigate the role of the party in election fraud. Yongyuth is also deputy head of the People Power Party, a proxy for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra that won a plurality in the December elections to restore civilian rule.

New Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej claimed an "invisible hand" was trying to destroy the party, perhaps by sabotage via the Election Commission.

Two previous attempts to outlaw the party as an illegal proxy for Thaksin were thrown out of court on technical reasons.

A military junta seized power in September 2006, accusing Thaksin of corruption, tax evasion and inciting civil unrest. His Thai Rak Thai party was outlawed, and he and 110 other party leaders were banned from politics for five years.

Thaksin's supporters formed the People Power Party, which promised to restore the exiled leader, and it swept enough seats to be able to form a coalition government with smaller parties in January. The new cabinet is heavily stacked with relatives and cronies of the banned politicians.

A pro-Thaksin website said Tuesday he would return to Thailand this week, to defend himself against outstanding charges of official misconduct.

It is not clear if the forces opposed to Thaksin - in the military and traditional elites - have the political will to take down his new party and the government through the electoral law, and risk possible violence in the streets.

Thaksin is widely loathed, especially in the capital, but he also remains very popular with many rural Thais who like his personal style and populist handouts.

Agencies
Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Şubat 2008, 13:16
YORUM EKLE