Pheu Thai candidate cleared

Pheu Thai candidate cleared

Party boosted in Khon Kaen election

The Election Commission (EC) has dismissed a challenge to Pheu Thai candidate Thanik Maseepitak, clearing the way for him to vie for a House seat in the Dec 22 by-election in Khon Kaen, an EC source said on Wednesday.

Mr Thanik applied to help Pheu Thai defend its seat in Constituency 7 after the party's former representative Nawat Tohcharoensuk was stripped of his MP status over his conviction in a murder case.

However, a voter then lodged a complaint claiming Mr Thanik was not qualified to vie for a constituency seat since he had been a list-MP candidate for Pheu Thai.

The complaint cited Section 43 of the organic law on elections of MPs, which says an election candidate is allowed to contest in one constituency only and he or she must not be a party-list candidate.

After receiving the complaint, local poll officials in Khon Kaen gathered the facts and submitted the information to the EC for a final say.

According to the Election Commission source, the EC yesterday ruled in favour of Mr Thanik, with the local election office now expected to confirm his candidacy.

According to reports, when Mr Thanik applied to contest the by-election in late November, he also submitted a letter cancelling his status as a Pheu Thai Party list candidate.

Apinant Chan-uppala, director of the Khon Kaen provincial election office, said yesterday his office is still waiting for official confirmation from the EC of its decision on the status of Mr Thanik. He can still petition the Supreme Court if the poll body rules to disqualify him from the race, added Mr Apinant.

He said the local poll agency has completed preparations for the by-election and expects a turnout of about 70%.

Four candidates are competing for the seat left vacant by Nawat.

The Pheu Thai representative was disqualified on Nov 14 after he was found guilty by the Khon Kaen Criminal Court of masterminding the murder of a local administrative official six years ago after the victim had an affair with his wife.

The resulting by-election is expected to be a two-horse race between Mr Thanik and Somsak Khun-ngern of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP).

PPRP secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong yesterday expressed confidence the party would win another seat, saying the PPRP and its candidate had received good feedback from local voters.

He said he would travel to Khon Kaen on Dec 15 to join Mr Somsak in the election campaign.

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