Election Commission continues to support the government

16 08 2009

Bangkok Pundit has a post on an Election Commission (EC) sub-committee finding on the case involving a very large TPI Polene donation to the Democrat Party through Messiah Business and Creation, an advertising company.

The case had been sent to the EC after the Department of Special Investigation found the case might violate the Political Party Act. Bangkok Pundit is referring to a Bangkok Post report (16 August 2009: “Democrats win first round over TPI donation, spending complaints”).

Involving a whopping 258 million baht donation, the EC sub-committee has ruled three to two that “the donation issue was a personal matter which did not involve the party.”

Yes, that’s the story. Believe it or not, giving this amount of personal favor to a member of the Democrat Party was personal. 258 million personal favors to an individual. Why was this decision taken? Apparently because the investigators “could not prove that the party had benefited from the money” at least according to one quoted source. Bangkok Pundit points out the anomaly in this decision.

The story gets even more interesting with The Nation’s report (16 August 2009: “EC sub-committees to be purged”) where Election Commissioner Sodsri Sattayatham claims that leaks about the TPI donation case will mean that some members of the EC’s 15 sub-committees will be replaced. This is interesting as Sodsri has been one of the most outspoken election commissioners, repeatedly telling the press more than she should and making political statements from her position as an election commissioner.

On the TPI case, Sodsri said that she “suspected that whoever revealed to the media the panel’s decision on the case wanted to pressure the EC into making decision that favoured some interest group.” She said, however, that this would fail as the EC was “its own boss.”

The outspoken Sodsri stated: “We do not always heed EC panels’ decisions…’. And, she divulged – and PPT would never dare suggest that her revelations are to favor some interest group – that “some member of the EC’s sub-committees were members of political parties … including nine members under the banner of parties that had been dissolved.”

PPT recalls that Sodsri was a constitution drafter under the military-backed arrangements following the 2006 coup, while continuing as an alection commissioner. Obviously no conflicts of interest there!

The headline in The Nation might be right – a purge is going on, yet again, in the EC, to ensure favorable outcomes for the conservatives in the Democrat Party and those who back it.


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