EC 'absolves' PM over funds promise
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra did not break the election law by promising to allocate SML funds to a village during his rally in Khon Kaen's Ban Pai district, the Election Commission sub-committee ruled yesterday, a source revealed.
Thaksin had been reported as saying to Ban Nong Pue villagers, "This year, Ban Nong Pue received Bt300,000 from the SML fund, next year it will receive Bt300,000 and the following year Bt300,000 but on the condition that I must be the prime minister.''
The government fund is allocated based on the size of the village - small, medium or large (SML).
The sub-committee investigating the complaint ruled that Thaksin did not break the law because the SML is part of government policy and the money promised is given out of state funds and not that of the Thai Rak Thai Party or from other private sources.
With regard to the second complaint about the "Caravan of the Poor" organising a concert at Chatuchak Park in support of Thaksin as the next prime minister, the sub-committee ruled the group had the right to gather peacefully, the source said.
As for the complaint against Pochanee Pompet, Thaksin's mother-in-law, for giving away T-shirts and headbands with the message "Thaksin Su Su" or "Thaksin keep on fighting", the sub-committee could not reach a decision after a long debate, the source revealed.
The committee has sought cooperation from television stations to present any TV footage as evidence but no station has responded so far.
The sub-committee said if Pochanee had given away the T-shirts and urged people to vote for number 2 (Thai Rak Thai), then she would have broken the law, not otherwise.
The sub-committee has reported the results of their investigation to EC chairman Vasana Puemlarp, the source said.