MP faces lese majeste claim over 'defamatory' speech

MP faces lese majeste claim over 'defamatory' speech

A Move Forward Party (MFP) executive faces a lese majeste allegation over his March 5 campaign speech in Phitsanulok, where he is standing for election.

Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, filed a complaint with the Election Commission on Monday and sought an investigation into a pre-election speech by Padipat Santipada, an MFP MP for Phitsanulok's Constituency 1.

At the campaign rally on March 5, Mr Padipat, also an MFP executive, told supporters some royally initiated projects were riddled with graft, according to Mr Srisuwan.

His mention of the graft in the speech was defamatory to the monarchy. It is common knowledge that projects royally initiated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great and His Majesty the King, which number over 4,700, are intended for the well-being of the people, Mr Srisuwan said.

He added that canvassing for votes through smear campaigns or acts of defamation violates the EC regulations and the organic laws on the election of MPs and political parties. The organic law on the election of MPs forbids any party or individual from disseminating false information to voters, Mr Srisuwan said.

In the organic law on political parties, deceiving voters with false information by a party executive may be grounds for dissolving the respective party, he said.

He added several parts of Mr Padipat's speech on March 5 were inappropriate for use in a campaign rally. "They were unnecessary," Mr Srisuwan said, adding he has presented a video clip of the MP's campaign speech as evidence to the EC.

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