Chuan sends media shares petition to charter court

Chuan sends media shares petition to charter court

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai yesterday forwarded to the Constitutional Court for a ruling one of two petitions against dozens of MPs accused of breaching media shareholding rules.

Mr Chuan said the Future Forward Party (FFP) lodged two petitions against 41 MPs and asked him to forward them to the court for a review.

The party claimed these MPs were likely in breach of charter rules that bar owners or shareholders of media companies from applying to be MPs.

Mr Chuan said he completed examination of the first petition against 30 MPs and forwarded it to the court yesterday morning.

The other petition which was against 11 others was likely to be submitted to the court later yesterday.

The petitions, targeting mostly MPs from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), invoke Section 82 of the charter, which says that if one-tenth of MPs raise a petition with the House speaker, he is obliged to forward it to the court for deliberation.

The FFP's move came after the court suspended FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as an MP pending its ruling on whether he breached media shareholding rules.

The EC forwarded the case to the court saying the FFP leader held shares in V-Luck Media Co when he registered as an MP candidate in early February.

Of the 41 MPs petitioned to face qualification reviews by the court, 27 are from the PPPR, 10 from the Democrat Party and one each from the Bhumjaithai Party, the Action Coalition for Thailand Party, the Chartpattana Party and the Prachaphiwat Party.

Wichian Chawalit, a PPRP list-MP and the party's registration official, said yesterday the party has prepared evidence to defend itself against the allegations in court if the case is accepted for deliberation.

He said the PPRP examined the qualifications of MP candidates, but noted the media shareholding rule was a relatively new regulation for MP candidates and it would be best for the party to wait for the court's deliberation.

Parina Kraikup, a PPRP MP for Ratchaburi who is accused of violating the media shareholding rule, said a company she is associated is not engaged in the media business of any kind despite its memorandum containing a mention to that effect.

"It's a company registration form requiring that all fields must be filled. The company wasn't set up to engage in any media operations," she said.

Ms Parina said her case is different from that of Mr Thanathorn whose firm made money from the media business.

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