Sukhumbhand: The sacrificial lamb and guilt by associationBy Bangkok Pundit Mar 31, 2014 10:00AM UTC
The Bangkok Post:
A source said five complaints were lodged against the Bangkok governor winner. The EC had given more weight to the complaint submitted by the Pheu Thai Party and former senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana.
In the complaint, Mr Ruangkrai accused senior Democrat executives and MPs including Suthep Thaugsuban and Jurin Laksanavisit of slandering Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the Pheu Thai Party candidate.
The two men had used an article written by retired police officer Pol Gen Vasit Dejkunjorn to accuse ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra of pulling the strings behind the red-shirt movement in a bid to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and turn it into a presidential system. They alleged Thaksin, the red shirts and Pheu Thai were the same movement.
Although Sukhumbhand [Governor of Bangkok and Democrat Party member] was not personally engaged in the so-called campaign, it was said to have helped him win last year’s election to return as city governor.
So, the Election Commission (EC) recommended that a new gubernatorial election be held in Bangkok, with Sukhumbhand allowed to stand again.
However, the final decision on whether a new gubernatorial election will be held will depend on a ruling from the Court of Appeals.
Pending court review, Sukhumbhand is required by law to stop working. He will hand the job over to his first deputy Pusadee Tamthai until a final decision is made.
The Bangkok Post on March 30:
The court decided on Thursday to consider an Election Commission (EC) recommendation to disqualify MR Sukhumbhand for alleged violations of the election law.
Under Section 239 of the constitution, MR Sukhumbhand is required to cease his duties as governor while court proceedings take place.
The Bangkok Post:
“The case is not involved with criminal prosecution or seeking compensation for the poll re-run because no red card is issued and the case does not implicate the candidate [MR Sukhumbhand] directly,” Mr Somchai said.
The EC’s Tuesday resolution would set a precedent for elections at all levels that candidates must refrain from slandering their opposition and campaign in a more constructive manner, he added.
A Thai Rath report quotes Somchai, stating that there was a supporter who maligned the other side. Even though this didn’t happen by the person [Sukhumbhand], but it was connected by the candidate. For this reason, we issued a yellow card. The reason why the majority viewed that the yellow card should be given because the EC viewed that the standard for campaigning especially speeches that the speeches should be about policy and for benefits to the country more than campaigns maligning each other (กกต.ได้มีการพิจารณาคำร้องคัดค้านการเลือกตั้งของ ม.ร.ว.สุขุมพันธุ์ บริพัตร ผู้ว่าฯ กทม. เห็นว่าผู้สนับสนุนรายหนึ่งได้ปราศรัยโจมตีใส่ร้ายผู้สมัครฝ่ายตรงข้าม แม้ว่าการปราศรัยครั้งนี้จะไม่ได้เป็นการดำเนินการด้วยตัวเองแต่มีการเชื่อมโยงไปยังผู้สมัคร ด้วยเหตุนี้จึงมีมติให้ใบเหลือง ส่วนเหตุผลของเสียงข้างมากที่เห็นควรให้ใบเหลืองนั้นเพราะ กกต.ชุดนี้ต้องการสร้างบรรทัดฐานของการหาเสียงเลือกตั้ง โดยเฉพาะการปราศรัยที่ควรปราศรัยในเชิงนโยบายเป็นประโยชน์ต่อประชาชนมากกว่าการปราศรัยในเชิงใส่ร้ายป้ายสีโจมตีกัน).
Khao Sod reports that Somchai also said that no criminal action would be taken against the speakers, but also notes that in many cases the Court has not followed the EC.
Below is a screenshot of a FB post of Election Commissioner Somchai:
In 3 months, issued 2 cards
Second, yellow [card] which made a lot of noise for Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand for the instance where supporters made maligning statements of the opposing candidate on the stage at Wong Wieng Yai, Lahn Kong Muang, and Benjasiri Park.
Both cases must be decided by the Court
But what is sure that in the bag, there are many other [cards to be given out] and ready to give out without being reluctant as to the feeling of others.
1. Have being meaning to blog on this for a while, but was waiting to see if the Court accepted the petition and they have. It is a ridiculous standard set by the EC. There are two problems (a) that they are even applying these guilt by association rules, and (b) that this was not some newly announced standard before an election with clear guidelines on what was acceptable, but it was a standard imposed a year later. This is what happens when you get power-mad independent agencies who can do what they want. They just decide to change the rules and punish elected politicians. They won’t punish the speakers, but the non-speaker is punished by being suspended and then we get a new election.
2. That it was timed in March suggests to BP that Sukhmbhand has been offered up as a sacrificial lamb to show the independent agencies are not biased against Puea Thai, but BP expects the Court may actually absolve Sukhumbhand. The Democrats have had success at the Court in quite a few cases brought by the EC in the past 6-7 years.
btw, post about Senate elections will be up later today. Just trying to check and find more details of who is aligned with what factions first.