By-election due to replace convicted MP

By-election due to replace convicted MP

(Photo by Patipat Janthong)
(Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Election Commission has disqualified Nawat Tohcharoensuk, the Pheu Thai MP who was convicted of murder, paving the way for a by-election to replace him in Constituency 7 of Khon Kaen province, according to House speaker Chuan Leekpai.

"The EC won’t send the case to the Constitution Court because it already reached the decision on Nawat [Tohcharoensuk]," said Mr Chuan, quoting reports to him by the House secretary-general.

The cabinet might consider drafting the royal decree for the by-election on Tuesday and it will take place within 45 days after the decree is royally endorsed, he added.

The EC issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon its commissioners had yet to make the decision on Nawat's status. It said it had sent a letter to the cabinet to make early preparations for the by-election if it is to be held. 

The Khon Kaen first court sentenced Nawat to death last Tuesday for masterminding a murder in 2003. His bail request was denied.

Section 101 of the constitution on the termination of MP status has two conflicting clauses which are open to interpretation.

One says the membership ends when he is sentenced to imprisonment and detained by court. The other says the status ends when he is sentenced to imprisonment by a final court ruling even though the sentence is suspended, except for suspended sentences for offences committed by negligence, petty offences and defamation.

Like the Nakhon Pathom by-election due on Oct 23, the Khon Kaen by-election is held simply to find a new winner for the constituency. There will be no recalculation of party-list quotas of all parties like in the Chiang Mai by-election in May.

The election law requires a recalculation of party-list quotas only when a by-election is held because of election fraud.

In the March 24 election, Nawat of Pheu Thai won with 29,710 votes in Constituency 7 of Khon Kaen, followed by Somsak Khunngern of the Palang Pracharath Party (26,553) and Somkuan Kraipon of the Future Forward Party (12,414). 

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