EC red cards Pheu Thai's Karun
The Election Commission has decided by a majority vote to disqualify Karun "Keng" Hosakul, a Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok's constituency 12, for defaming Democrat candidate Tankhun Jitt-itsara during last year's election campaign, EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said on Wednesday.
The EC resolved to revoke Mr Karun's voting right and ordered a by-election in Don Muang, Mr Puchong said.
The commission will also ask that, if found guilty, Mr Karun be required meet the cost of holding a new poll, he said.
Mr Tankhun charged Mr Karun with making four false accusations against him:
1) Mr Karun accused Mr Tankhun of changing his Chinese surname, causing his father to die of grief.
2) He accused him of being a photo model for a pornographic magazine and claimed that he was homosexual.
3) He alleged that the Democrats were paying people 300 baht each if they turned up to listen to their speeches during the campaign.
4) He claimed that Mr Tankhun looked down on the people of Don Muang.
Mr Tankhun's petition supporting his case included recordings of speeches made by Mr Karun on June 3 and June 12 last year at fresh markets in Don Muang.
Mr Puchong said the EC had submitted the case to the Supreme Court's Election Cases Division for a final verdict on Mr Karun's disqualification.
Mr Karun must cease performing all functions as an MP if the court accepts the case for a ruling.
Pheu Thai Party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit said it is too soon to discuss the EC's decision to disqualify Mr Karun.
People should wait for the Supreme Court's decision first, Mr Yongyuth, a deputy premier and interior minister, said.
The Pheu Thai leader said he had talked to Mr Karun and had given him words of encouragement.
He said that if Mr Karun loses the case, Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, a Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok, will select a candidate to contest a by-election in Don Muang (constituency 12).
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he was surprised that the EC took so long to decide Mr Karun's case.
Mr Abhisit said there was nothing complicated about it.
"If there's a by-election, Democrat candidate Tankhun will contest again," the former prime minister said.
20 June 2012
Tankhun Jitt-itsara (L) and Karun Hosakul (Photos by Jetjaras na Ranong)