Pheu Thai mounts fierce by-election defence

Pheu Thai mounts fierce by-election defence

The by-election in Khon Kaen's constituency 7 to replace Pheu Thai Party MP Nawat Tohcharoensuk is expected to take place on Dec 22, the provincial election office said.

The Election Commission (EC) has 45 days in which to organise a by-election. The Constitutional Court ruled this week that Nawat lost his MP status when found guilty by the Khon Kaen Criminal Court in late September of masterminding the murder of a local administrative official six years ago, for which he was sentenced to death.

Apinant Jan-upala, director of Khon Kaen election office, said the 45-day deadline expires on Dec 27. The office said the most suitable election date is Dec 22, a Sunday.

The election office is drafting a royal decree for the by-election which will be forwarded next Tuesday for cabinet approval and then presented to the King, before the EC officially announces the poll date.

Mr Apinant said applications for by-election candidates will likely open for five days at the end of this month at the Nong Rua district office. 

He added the polling stations are likely to be in the same locations as in the March 24 general elections. The EC was still waiting for ballot papers to be produced.

Pheu Thai chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyurapan said on Thursday that the main opposition party would defend Constituency 7 at all costs. 

She said the party has appointed a committee to select its candidate for the by-election. 

"Pheu Thai will never let another party win the constituency," she said, noting a major rival was also keen on capturing the seat — an obvious reference to the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).

A Pheu Thai source said the party was mulling three potential candidates, including Nawat's nephew Surapote Tohcharoensuk and Adisorn Piangket, a Pheu Thai core member.

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