Election Commission gives first ‘Yellow Card’ to Pheu Thai party winner in Nong Khai

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BANGKOK, July 15 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) issued its first ‘yellow card’ to the Pheu Thai Party winning candidate in Nong Khai Constituency 2 while a new election for this constituency will be held on July 31.

Election Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum said the agency commissioners late Thursday agreed unanimously to hold a new election for Constituency 2 in the northeastern province of Nong Khai after suspending endorsement for Somkid Banthaising, winning candidate of the Pheu Thai Party, for alleged election fraud.

Mr Somkid allegedly paid pedal taxi drivers to carry people to the election campaign rally and allegedly gave money to prospective voters. Eight witnesses gave statements that reported the same observation, she said.

A yellow card means a candidate is suspected of election fraud, but is permitted to try to gain office through another election. A red card means that the candidate is not permitted to run again.

Meanwhile, Yingluck Shinawatra said she acknowledged the EC issued the yellow card for Mr Somkid. She thought that the party will choose Mr Somkid as its candidate to run in the by-election.

Ms Sodsri also said regarding its considering the qualifications of Red Shirt MP candidates that a sub-committee was set up to review the law and to determine the facts on that before forwarding the report to the EC on July 19.

Meanwhile, she said the case of  Ms Yingluck, number one party list candidate of the Pheu Thai party, whose endorsement has been withheld, will be considered in accordance with the law.

Ms Yingluck’s case involved former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, who was banned from politics for five years by the Constitution Court in 2008 and who helped her in election campaign by riding on the same vehicle with Ms Yingluck around Chiang Mai.

Ms Yingluck denied that Mr Somchai helped her in her election campaign, saying the EC has not yet summoned her to clarify regarding that.

However, the Pheu Thai party’s legal affairs advisors will gather information and be ready to defend the case before the elections agency when summoned.

She denied reports that her party is seeking another candidate to stand in for the post of prime minister if the EC doesn’t endorse her victory. She said she is unworried and believes the EC will treat all parties fairly.

The EC has so far endorsed a total of 358 winning MP candidates.