17 more parties put under loan spotlight
Activist Srisuwan Janya will on Wednesday petition the Election Commission (EC) to investigate 17 more political parties for allegedly violating the law on borrowing money -- the same charge that could see the Future Forward Party (FFP) disbanded.
Mr Srisuwan, secretary-general of a group called the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, announced the move on Facebook after former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn posted information about the 17 parties' loan records.
If the parties are found to have violated the law, the EC must take legal action against them since it was responsible for registering the parties in the first place, said Mr Somchai.
However, if the 17 are proved innocent, the five out of seven election commissioners who voted to seek the FFP's disbandment for the same alleged misconduct would be held accountable for that decision, he said.
According to a document posted on Facebook by Mr Somchai, the 17 are all small-sized parties, either in the coalition government or without an MP. The MP-less Democratic Force Party borrowed 5.5 million baht while the Action Coalition for Thailand Party borrowed 5 million baht, according to the document.
The value of loans reported by the other parties ranged from 1,000 baht to 4.3 million baht, according to the same document.
It also showed the FFP had borrowed 161.2 million baht.
However, the EC's investigation summary submitted to the Constitutional Court records a second FFP loan, bringing the total borrowed by the party to 191 million baht.
FFP secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, meanwhile, hit back at the poll body over leaked EC documents indicating the commission's sub-committee had twice dismissed proposals to pursue a dissolution case against the party.
Instead of threatening to pursue legal action against those behind the leak, the EC should give a clear explanation of the what the documents reveal, he said.
The FFP now has every right to question whether the EC was simply aiming for the FFP's dissolution from the beginning, since it pressed ahead with the case despite the sub-committee's two rejections, he added.