Central Election Commission to decide fate of city governor-elect

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BANGKOK, March 13 – A hot potato will be passed to the Central Election Commission (EC) which will have to decide on the fate of former Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra who was re-elected in the March 3 gubernatorial election.

The Bangkok Election Committee voted on Tuesday to forward two complaints against Mr Sukhumbhand to the Central EC for a final decision.

The two complaints involve the posting of a photo on the 2010  political violence in Bangkok on a social media network by Democrat MP Sirichoke Sopa, and a social media statement by Seri Wongmontha, a journalism academic, calling on people to vote for the Democrat Party.

Mr Sukhumbhand ran in the Bangkok election under the Democrat ticket.

“When the two complaints reach the Central Election Commission, it’s up to the commission’s judgement,” said Bangkok Election Committee chairman Taweesak Toochinda.

He said the Central EC will have three choices: endorsing Mr Sukhumbhand as the new Bangkok governor, not endorsing  him, or instructing the Bangkok Election Committee to re-investigate the complaints.

“We will not propose giving the winning candidate a yellow ticket or a red ticket,” he assured.

Under Thai election procedures, a new election is required if an elected candidate receives a yellow ticket but he is allowed to run again. An elected candidate with a red ticket is banned from the new election.

Pol Lt Gen Taweesak was questioned about Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung’s prediction that either a yellow ticket or a red ticket will be issued by the EC, and that the EC will be courageous if it endorses the governor-elect.

“Every Election Commission member strictly abides by the law,” Pol Lt Gen Taweesak said bluntly.