Graft busters asked to rule on MFP's expulsion of Padipat

Graft busters asked to rule on MFP's expulsion of Padipat

Deputy House Speaker Padipat Suntiphada, facing camera.
Deputy House Speaker Padipat Suntiphada, facing camera.

Political activist Srisuwan Janya has petitioned the National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) to rule on the Move Forward Party's (MFP) expulsion of Padipat Suntiphada so he can join another party and retain the post of first deputy speaker in the House of Representatives.

In the petition, filed on Monday, the NACC was asked whether the MFP and Mr Padipat had violated the ethics code for parties and politicians stipulated in Section 219 of the constitution.

At a meeting on Sept 28, the MFP's new executive committee and party MPs resolved to expel Mr Padipat from the party. This was intended to allow Mr Padipat to join another party and retain the post of first deputy speaker, and leave the MFP free to take up the position of leader of the opposition.

Under Section 106 of the charter, the opposition leader will be appointed from the biggest party in that camp. Its MPs must not serve as cabinet ministers or as House speaker or deputy speaker.

The MFP issued a statement, which was widely disseminated on social media, saying the move was intended to enable the MFP to perform its duty as a "full-fledged opposition". The statement was accompanied by pictures and the text message, "Walk separately, change the country together".

Mr Srisuwan said this had been branded by society and on social media as a conspiracy, a legal deception and an addiction to power, indicating the true colours of a political party which had not practised politics in a straightforward manner, as the MFP had declared it would during the election campaign.

According to Mr Srisuwan, the MFP was also in breach of its own regulations, Nos 119 and 121, and of the ideology it registered with the political party registrar on June 23, 2020.

Mr Srisuwan said the NACC had been asked to forward its decision to the Supreme Court for punitive action if it found the MFP had seriously breached political ethics.

Meanwhile, Kaewsan  Atipho, a former deputy dean of Thammasat University, posted an article entitled, "A step backward of the Move Forward Party", on social media.

The MFP's action was dishonest since a party can expel MPs only if they have committed a serious mistake or are in serious conflict with the party, he wrote.

He said a group of at least 50 MPs can petition the Constitutional Court to rule whether Mr Padipat has actually been expelled or has resigned from the party and lost his MP status. The secretary-general of the Election Commission, as a political party registrar, can also do this, he said.

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