Opinion split over whether Nawat is still an MP

Opinion split over whether Nawat is still an MP

The House of Representatives secretariat is looking at asking the Constitutional Court to rule whether Pheu Thai Party MP for Khon Kaen Nawat Tohcharoensuk has lost his seat after he was sentenced to death and jailed.

Whether this is the case appears to have split opinion within political and legal circles.

Sorasak Pienvej, secretary-general of the House of Representatives, said his office's legal team met yesterday to discuss the issue.

At the meeting, 11 legal experts said Nawat had ceased to be an MP, while four others said he had not, saying it was for the Constitutional Court to announce his status.

The results of the meeting would be put to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai for consideration, Mr Sorasak said.

Mr Chuan yesterday admitted that opinions were split on the issue. The constitution drafters were of the view Nawat had lost his seat, but others disagreed.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, Nawat lost his seat immediately after being convicted and sentenced to death for murder.

The constitution states clearly that MPs lose their seats if they are convicted of a criminal offence.

This applies to Nawat, despite the appeal process not being exhausted yet, Mr Wissanu said.

He said the number of list MPs for political parties cannot be recalculated because the case does not concern electoral fraud.

Nawat: On death row for murder plot

The Khon Kaen provincial court on Tuesday sentenced Nawat, the Khon Kaen Constituency 7 MP, to death for masterminding the murder of an assistant chief of the Khon Kaen provincial administration organisation in 2013.

An appeal is automatic in the case of a death sentence, yet the court denied a request for bail.

Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, the Pheu Thai chief strategist, said yesterday the party would let the law govern Nawat's fate.

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