Activist asks EC to probe Future Forward

Activist asks EC to probe Future Forward

Srisuwan Janya (left), secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, submits a petition to an Election Commission official at the EC's office at Government Complex on Monday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Srisuwan Janya (left), secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, submits a petition to an Election Commission official at the EC's office at Government Complex on Monday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

An activist has asked the Election Commission to take action on disbanding the Future Forward party since two of its founders allegedly breached the MP election law on campaigning.

In his petition submitted to the EC on Monday, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, claimed party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul had violated Section 73(5) of the law.

The clause involves prohibited campaigning methods -- deception, coercion, threat, slandering or enticement which leads people to misunderstand about the popularity of a candidate.

In Mr Thanathorn’s case, his profile which contained false information was on the website for five months, Mr Srisuwan said.

“The website claimed Mr Thanathorn was a two-time president of the Federation of Thai Industries [FTI] when in fact he had held no such position.

“The FTI has almost 100,000 members who are businessmen. Whoever is its chairman is honourable and stands a chance of taking key positions in the public and private sectors.

“That Future Forward advertised the false information is a deception to the public, punishable by imprisonment of 1-10 years and/or a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 baht and revocation of political rights.”

According to the law, the political ban is for 20 years.

In Mr Srisuwan’s view, the party can’t claim it had no intent. Since the EC endorsed the party on Oct 3 last year, its website had published the information.

It was not until somebody found it was not true and informed it that it changed the information on Feb 20. The fact that the false information remained on its website for as long as five months indicates it intended to mislead people.

Party spokesperson Pannika Wanich apologised to the public last week for the mistake and insisted the party had no intention of deceiving people. The party corrected the error as soon as it was informed, she said. 

In Mr Piyabutr’s case, Mr Srisuwan said the party’s secretary-general addressed audiences in Sakon Nakhon province on Feb 16 and posted a summary on his Facebook two days later. The post indicated government agencies and some members of the media colluded in mocking and looking down on Isan people.

“This is not true so Mr Piyabutr also violated Section 73(5),” Mr Srisuwan said.

He added both are party leader and secretary-general so their actions could compromise a free and fair election.

“As a result, I also would like the EC to ask the Constitutional Court to consider disbanding the party,” Mr Srisuwan said.


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