PPRP may be in soup for bowl freebies

PPRP may be in soup for bowl freebies

The PPRP's plastic bowl Songkran souvenirs. (Social media photo)
The PPRP's plastic bowl Songkran souvenirs. (Social media photo)

The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) may be investigated over its planned distribution of water bowl souvenirs to constituents during next week's Songkran festival.

Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, said he would ask the Election Commission (EC) today to investigate the ruling party for planning the water bowl giveaway.

He alleged the party has prepared 200,000 bowls for distribution in constituencies represented by PPRP MPs during the Songkran celebration. The plastic bowls are emblazoned with the name of Deputy Prime Minister and PPRP leader, Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, along with a Happy Songkran message.

The gifts might break the election law governing the criteria, methodology and legal conditions for items to be given away for free to people by political parties.

Also yesterday, former EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn warned the water bowls could have dire legal consequences for both the EC and the distributor.

In his Facebook, Mr Somchai said news reports put the number of bowls to be offered for free at 200,000 although the number may well be understated.

But according to some media reports, each PPRP MP will be allocated up to 5,000 bowls to be distributed to their constituents.

He said the total of cost of the bowls times the number of PPRP MPs, if priced at 10 baht apiece, would come down to about six million baht.

Mr Somchai said Section 65 of the election law requires the expense in question to be combined into the party's expenses for the next election.

The EC must order its secretary-general to make a record of the expense and the secretary-general must, in turn, inform the party of the recording.

If the EC fails to order its secretary-general or the secretary-general fails to inform the party, they stand to be prosecuted for dereliction of duty.

Also, if the ruling party omitted the bowl expense from its election campaign budget to be declared to the EC, it would be charged with declaring a false budget, an offence which could lead to the party being dissolved.

A PPRP source said the party planned to send 200,000 bowls to constituents nationwide. Some MPs have turned down accepting the bowls from the party for distribution, saying it would be inconvenient for them to return home for the holiday with a large haul of them.

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