Wriggle room and double standards for the Democrat Party

30 09 2010

As PPT mentioned in an earlier post,the Democrat Party is facing an electoral fraud case and both Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya made much of independence, the probity of the judicial system and a willingness to accept the decision in the case. Most of all, they emphasized that there were no double standards.

But as The Nation reports: “It’s seemingly an unbelievable theory, but stranger things have happened in Thai politics”: it has been seen that the Democrat Party has wriggle (and/or wiggle) room. The party’s executives may well “be able to avoid the five-year ban from politics even if the party is found guilty of misusing state subsidy.” That means Abhisit and several others. The deal seems to revolve around “the ruling party is being tried under the Political Party Act, as opposed to the Election Law, which was used to overthrow the People Power Party (PPP) in 2008 over charges of electoral fraud.”

Read the story as it sets out an interesting scenario. If it comes to pass, there are going to be plenty of people shouting double standards. And rightly so.





Double standards again

14 02 2010

 

PPT readers will be aware of the sudden revelation by the Democrat Party of funds allegedly being transferred to the opposition red shirts from abroad (see here and here). The prime minister, deputy prime minister, justice minister and a gaggle of spin doctors and spokesmen have all said that investigations are ongoing to prove this so far unsubstantiated claim.

 

Meanwhile the alleged illegal transfer of funds to the Democrat Party, from within the country, continues to drag along with postponements and other delays. The contrast with the current investigations of the red shirts could not be more stark. Both cases are riddled with political interests.

 

The Nation (14 February 2010) reports that the Election Commission team looking into the Democrat Party dissolution case yesterday said it still has much work to do, particularly since the report from the Department of Special Investigation contained many holes.”

 

Apparently, the DSI has “not concluded whether TPI Polene’s Bt258-million donation to the Democrats was obtained lawfully…. Nor has it filed a complaint accusing the party of violating the Political Party Act, which could lead to its being disbanded.”

 

The investigating panel has apparently called in a former DSI deputy director who had worked on the DSI report. Apparently, the investigation revolves around a question of whether the “DSI believes TPI Polene illegally siphoned the Bt258 million from the Financial Institutions Development Fund, since the company was still in rehabilitation. If so, the then CEO of TPI, Prachai Leophairatana, would be subject to legal action for violating the Securities and Exchange Act of 1992.

 

The former DSI officer claims the EC has plenty of clear evidence in the 7,000 page report “submitted to EC chairman Apichart Sukhagganond in his capacity as the political-party registrar last March…” following more than a year of investigation.

 

In terms of the donation to the Democrat Party, at issue is the question of whether it was an unlawful donation. Receiving and using an unlawful donation means the “party could be disbanded for violating the Political Party Act…”. However, for this to occur, the investigating panel would have to consider the Party’s intent to “violate the law, commit an offence against morality or disturb peace and order.” To reach a conclusion on this is going to require a truckload of evidence and testimony.

 

Democrat politicians say “the alleged donation never took place” and that the “party never obtained it.” It was a business deal with relatives of Democrats. Where have we heard that kind of excuse before?

 

It is clear that this case is being deliberately delayed for political purposes. If it isn’t, then the authorities are doing a pretty good job of providing that impression.

 

 

 

 





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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