Panel clears govt MPs of proxy voting for budget

Panel clears govt MPs of proxy voting for budget

The parliamentary ethics committee has cleared two Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) MPs of any wrongdoing over proxy votes during the deliberation of the budget expenditure bill two years ago.

Facing the committee's investigation were Thawirat Rattanaset, a Nakhon Ratchasima MP, and Parim Poolcharoen, a Samut Prakan MP.

Mr Parim was accused of inserting a voting card for Mr Thawirat, a breach of parliamentary regulations, after the House was called to vote following a debate on the budget bill from Jan 8-11, 2020.

The accusation led to the formation of the ethics panel headed by parliament president Chuan Leekpai.

According to the committee, there was no credible evidence the two MPs intended to contravene the regulation. It was the voting venue that was the root of the problem.

The panel reasoned that the voting took place while the parliament building was not fully functioning, which prompted the 500 MPs to use the smaller Senate chamber able to accommodate up to 250 members.

In the chamber, only 300 voting card slots were available, meaning some had to be used twice.

Also, there were not enough seats for MPs making it necessary for extra seats to be brought in. When the parliament president called for a vote, Mr Thawirat, who was sitting in an extra seat not equipped with a voting slot, handed Mr Parim his card to lodge the vote on his behalf.

The panel found the MPs had acted out of necessity and had not set out to engage in proxy voting.

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