EC issues jail warning over false party claims

EC issues jail warning over false party claims
Sawang: Too many complaints
Sawang: Too many complaints

The Election Commission (EC) has warned people not to lodge false complaints against parties in the run-up to the election, saying they themselves will face prosecution if such petitions are believed to be of malicious intent.

The warning comes after the poll agency revealed it has dismissed 61 out of 83 complaints against parties accused of violating regulations that could result in their dissolution.

EC secretary-general Sawang Boonmee said on Friday the regulations involving party dissolution are clear and that 61 complaints have been thrown out because the alleged offences do not constitute sufficient grounds for disbandment.

“In many cases, the offences did occur, but they don’t provide grounds for party dissolution, so the petitions are rejected,” he said.

Mr Sawang said public examination of politicians and their parties is welcomed, but urged the people to bear in mind that political parties are protected against false accusations.

Under Section 101 of the political party law, those who deliberately lodge false complaints against a party face up to five years in jail and/or a maximum fine of 100,000 baht. The court can also prohibit them from contesting elections.

“And if a false complaint is filed by a party, that party will face dissolution and its leader and executives will have their election rights revoked,” said the EC’s secretary-general.

He was then quizzed over complaints seeking the disbandment of the Pheu Thai Party for allowing ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra to continue to influence it.

The data shows that Pheu Thai has faced the most dissolution calls with 33, 27 of which have already been dismissed by the EC. The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) in No.2 on the list.

Most of those against Pheu Thai alleged interference by ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his former wife Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, who are now considered outsiders.

Also, a total of 15 petitions were lodged against the PPRP, with 11 already ruled out by the EC. One was withdrawn and three others are pending investigation.

The source said that the PPRP was accused of being influenced by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is considered an outsider in the eyes of the law as he is not a member of the ruling party.

The Democrat Party faced three dissolution petitions, including two that have since been dismissed.

Move Forward has faced five and Bhumjaithai two.