EC must look at domination

EC must look at domination

Thaksin Shinawatra is swamped by supporters as he enters the Pheu Thai headquarters on Tuesday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Thaksin Shinawatra is swamped by supporters as he enters the Pheu Thai headquarters on Tuesday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The hero's welcome which the Pheu Thai Party gave to the paroled former prime minister -- Thaksin Shinawatra -- during his visit to the party's head office was anything but a surprise.

Since leaving hospital on early parole last month, Thaksin -- who has over the past six months been claiming he is gravely ill -- has kept himself in the limelight.

He even paid a visit to Chiang Mai, where he was treated by authorities as a VIP.

There were reports of road closures to facilitate his motorcade and during the trip he was surrounded by several senior government officials as well as red-shirt members.

His dinner with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and former prime minister and brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat in Chiang Mai also drew public attention.

Thaksin has said he will again visit the capital of the North, formerly Pheu Thai's political stronghold, next month to celebrate Songkran.

While meeting Pheu Thai MPs on Monday, Thaksin told them he would cater to their needs if they want him to visit their electorates in the provinces.

Pheu Thai heavyweights tried to downplay Thaksin's activities, dismissing observers' interpretations that his high-profile visits to several places, particularly the party's headquarters, was a show of power and his attempts to restore the party's fame.

Yet his critics and members of the public think otherwise. Some even see Thaksin's eagerness as a dire need to counter the ever-popular Move Forward Party.

Opinion polls conducted by Nida indicated the MFP, which failed to form a government last August and is now the party leading the opposition, is still ahead in the public approval stakes by far.

There are also questions over whether Thaksin is trying to "control" Pheu Thai party members -- a breach of Sections 28 and 29 of the Political Parties Act which prohibits interference in a party's affairs by non-member individuals or outsiders.

According to Section 28, a party that allows interference could face dissolution, while its executive board could be banned from politics for 10 years.

Violators of Section 29, ie outsiders who control and or interfere in a party's affairs, could face a 5-10 year jail term, and up to 100,000 baht in fines, or both.

They could also be stripped of their election rights.

In the past, some political activists lodged complaints, based on the two aforementioned sections, against Pheu Thai, but their allegations were dropped given a lack of evidence.

But Thaksin's visit to Pheu Thai Party headquarters is different.

In fact, few if any believe Thaksin's wish to spend more time with his grandchildren was the main reason for his homecoming, or that he has "no passion for politics."

What he's done since getting parole proves otherwise. It's important for the Election Commission (EC) to take the matter more seriously and see that there has been interference by Thaksin and whether this is in breach of any laws.

Of course, this newspaper does not endorse party dissolution from just any cause. However, it's a principle that anyone breaching the law must be duly punished without exception.

It's the duty of the EC -- which is processing the possible dissolution of the MFP -- to prove there are no double standards, and that all parties are treated equally under the rule of law, without any compromise.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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