The Election Commission (EC) yesterday endorsed Democrat Party candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra as Bangkok governor, more than three weeks after his election victory.
MR Sukhumbhand could still be disqualified later if the EC finds compelling evidence to present to a court showing he committed electoral violations.
The commissioners voted 4:1 to endorse the March 3 city poll result in which MR Sukhumbhand came out on top, EC secretary-general Phuchong Nutrawong said yesterday.
The minority EC member did not vote against the election result, but wished to delay the endorsement until April 1 to allow the EC more time to investigate complaints against MR Sukhumbhand. Under election law, the EC is required to endorse the election results within 30 days or by April 2.
After April 2, the authority to red card MR Sukhumbhand lies with the Supreme Court's Election Cases Division.
Under election law, the EC has one year to probe allegations made against the winning candidate.
MR Sukhumbhand was accused of being involved in alleged defamation committed in the lead-up to the election by fellow Democrat Sirichoke Sopha and media expert Seree Wongmontha.
Former senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana and Nicha Phaensomboon, a voter, asked the EC to look into whether the governor-elect was linked to the alleged defamation.
Mr Sirichoke denied he had defamed the Pheu Thai Party by posting pictures and comments online about the burning of buildings in Bangkok during the 2010 violence on his Facebook page.
Mr Seree posted a message on his Facebook page allegedly trying to persuade voters not to choose Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen _ MR Sukhumbhand's primary opponent running under the Pheu Thai banner _ in the election. About 30 complaints have been filed with the EC in relation to the governor election, including those lodged against MR Sukhumbhand.
Mr Phuchong said MR Sukhumbhand could contact the EC to receive endorsement certificate from today.
On his Twitter account yesterday, MR Sukhumbhand thanked his supporters for their moral support. He said he would pick up the election endorsement certificate today and be at work at City Hall tomorrow.
Meanwhile, about 50 red shirts from the Public Radio Group for Democracy protested outside the EC against the endorsement. They called on the EC to explain its criteria.
About the author
- Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan