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Thai Election Commission disqualifies 3 pro-Thaksin election victors

Thai Election Commission disqualifies 3 pro-Thaksin election victors

Thailand's Election Commission announced Sunday it has overturned the victories of three candidates from a party allied with deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra due to charges of vote-buying in the Dec. 23 general elections.
The commission's move, which must be endorsed by government legal advisors, does not alter the status of the People's Power Party as top vote-getter. But it could reduce the number of seats won by the Thaksin-allied party _ which did not net a majority _ and make it more difficult to build a ruling coalition.
The three candidates from northeastern Buriram province are disqualified and face criminal charges, and will not be able to run in by-elections that are expected Jan. 13, said commission secretary-general Sutthiphon Thaweechaikan.
"We found that they were involved in giving out cash and other valuables in exchange for votes," Sutthiphon said.
Election Commission Sodsri Sathayatham told The Associated Press that the Council of State, the government's legal advisory body, must review the disqualifications before they become official. That review was considered a formality, and was not expected to change the outcome.
"That would reduce the number of seats won by the PPP by at least three seats," Sodsri said, adding that the commission will continue to investigate dozens of other alleged electoral violations.
Thaksin's allies in the PPP came out on top in the country's first election since he was ousted by a military coup in September 2006, winning 233 seats in parliament's 480-seat lower house, but it must build a coalition with smaller parties in order to form a government.
The anti-Thaksin Democrat Party won only 165 seats.
The commission had earlier nullified three results in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima after finding evidence that three PPP victors in one district hired people to hand out cash for votes.
In nullifications, the victors are not disqualified and are allowed to run again in by-elections, Sodsri said.
Although the PPP says it already has gathered enough support from smaller parties to form a coalition, analysts say horse-trading continues and that it is too early to declare the pro-Thaksin grouping as Thailand's next government.
PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang has said the party will release details of its coalition government Jan. 4, a day after the Election Commission certifies the results of the Dec. 23 polls.
Kuthep said three minor parties are expected to join the PPP in a coalition government: Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana with nine seats, Matchima Thipataya with seven, and Pracharaj with five. He also said PPP was in talks with Chart Thai, which came in third with 37 seats, and Puea Pandin, which came in fourth with 24.
None of the five parties has public confirmed its position.
Parliament's lower house is scheduled to convene Jan. 22.


Updated : 2021-04-13 08:31 GMT+08:00