Pattaya Daily News

28 September 2010 :: 12:09:19 pm 41249

Deputy Premier Suthep to Contest Surat Thani by-Election

Democrat Party politician and current deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on Monday announced his intentions to run in the upcoming Surat Thani by-election if endorsed by his fellow party MP’s.
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Bangkok, the 27th of September 2010: Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Thaugsuban advised that he is ready to run in the October 30 by-election to replace disgraced former Democrat MP Chumphon Kanchana who faces a five-year ban from politics for submitting false asset statements.

The deputy premier stated that the final decision on who will run in the by-election would be made at a meeting of party executives later this month, while he maintained that it is unnecessary for him to resign the deputy premiership should he contest the election.

Mr. Thaugsuban left his former parliamentary seat last July, following an Election Commission (EC) ruling that he and 12 other Democrat MPs violated the Constitution by holding shares in media organisations and businesses granted state contracts.

“It’s no problem if I must run in the by-election. I resigned from the House of Representatives the last time after the Election Commission (EC) ruled that I held shares in state enterprises and forwarded the case to the Constitution Court,” said Mr Suthep. “I should be eligible for the upcoming by-election if I apply for the contest.”

Heading concerns that the deputy premier may abuse his power on the Cabinet to gain an advantage in the southern provinces by-election, Mr. Thaugsuban explained he would predominantly campaign on weekends while affirming that the media are free to follow his movements to assure no exploitation occurs.

EC chairman Apichart Sukhagghanont refused to comment on Mr Thaugsuban’s possible contest in the Surat Thani by-election while assuming the deputy premiership, saying anyone can run in an election if he or she is eligible.

Meanwhile, the opposition Puea Thai Party have insinuated that the Democrat Party’s decision to field Mr., Thaugsuban as the Surat Thani candidate is aimed at paving the way for him to become premier in case the Democrat Party is dissolved by the Constitution Court over ongoing misconduct investigations.

The Election Commission ruled earlier this year that the Democrat Party violated the Constitution by receiving an illegal Bt258 million donation from TPI Polene Plc and misusing Bt29 million in EC allocated funds. The court resolved to dissolve the Democrat Party. However, the case is still proceeding through the Constitutional Court. Over 40 party executives, including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, could be banned from politics for 5-years if the court rules the party is guilty in the two cases.

The deputy prime minister insisted he did not want the premiership. “The Democrat Party and I support Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,” said Mr Suthep. “I believe the Democrat Party will not be dissolved as it didn’t do anything wrong.”

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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