Banned MP seeks return of status, B70m damages

Banned MP seeks return of status, B70m damages

Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn (left), a Pheu Thai MP candidate for Chiang Mai, speaks while a fellow MP shows a copy of the court ruling at the party's headquarters on Thursday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn (left), a Pheu Thai MP candidate for Chiang Mai, speaks while a fellow MP shows a copy of the court ruling at the party's headquarters on Thursday. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

A Chiang Mai MP candidate disqualified by the Election Commission for election fraud says he will ask it to give him his MP status and pay him 70 million baht in damages after a court ruled him not guilty.

The EC gave Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn of Pheu Thai an “orange ticket” in late April.

Under the 2017 constitution, before an MP candidate is endorsed, the EC may revoke his electoral rights for one year if it finds evidence he has broken election laws. This came to be known as the orange ticket.

The EC will then hold a re-run in which the candidate cannot run.

In this case, Mr Surapol won in Constituency 8 with 52,000 votes. The EC found evidence — he had donated 2,000 baht to a monk — and gave him the orange ticket.

A re-run was held for the constituency, with Pheu Thai barred from running. The winner was Srinuan Boonlue of the now-defunct Future Forward Party, who won a record 70,000 votes

Mr Surapol later asked the Supreme Court for elections to rule on his alleged guilt. The court found him not guilty on Tuesday, saying the donation was made between two individuals and was not an effort to gain popularity among voters.

Mr Surapol on Thursday said he would ask the EC to give him his MP status.

“Who’s going to be responsible for the 52,000 votes of Chiang Mai people? How can the EC reinstate my rights and repay disappointed voters,” Mr Surapol said.

Apart from Mr Surapol, the case may affect at least three other well-known MPs.

Ms Srinuan replaced him and was later expelled from Future Forward after she repeatedly voted against the party's stances. She later joined the coalition Bhumjaithai Party amid calls for her to resign by some voters who felt betrayed by her actions.

The new election also resulted in changes in the vote counts of two coalition parties, which also fielded candidates, but did not win.

The Palang Pracharath Party earned another list MP, Watanya Wongopasi, while the Democrat Party also got another one, Chitpas Kridakorn.

It is unclear what would happen to these three high-profile MPs if Mr Surapol is endorsed as MP.

Meanwhile, the EC maintained it was protected by Section 225 of the constitution, which empowers it to issue an orange ticket to a suspected candidate and hold a re-run.



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