Two anti-government activists on Tuesday petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to ask the Constitutional Court to disqualify Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, over his past criminal record in Australia.
Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Siriwit Chuangsaen submitted a new petition along with a copy of an Australian appeal court ruling, which sentenced Thamanat to six years in prison in 1993 in a case related to heroin smuggling.
The two said they had obtained a copy of the ruling from documents used by the opposition during the censure debate against Thamanat.
According to the activists, the prison sentence disqualified Thamanat as an MP under Section 98 (10) of the constitution, which bans politicians with criminal records from holding the position.
They said they had previously petitioned the EC to disqualify Thamanat but they didn’t have this copy of the Australian court ruling.
They claimed that every time they asked the EC about the progress of their petition against Thamanat, they were informed that the EC’s panel was investigating the matter.
The government had reportedly cited the Council of State, the government’s legal adviser, opinion on a similar case that convictions in foreign countries weren't applicable under Thai law.
The two activists insist that the interpretation that the government used to judge Capt Thamanat was merely an opinion and the EC must seek a Constitutional Court’s ruling on Capt Thamanat's eligibility.