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PPP: A powerful man is trying to block us

Surapong claims cards were part of ploy to influence who becomes PM

Published on December 31, 2007

People Power Party secretary-general Surapong Suebwong-lee admitted the disqualification of three candidates in Buri Ram was a setback.

He told a news briefing yesterday this his party candidates were innocent.

He suggested "someone in a powerful position" was attempting to block the PPP from becoming the government by issuing its winning candidates with red and yellow cards.

"We know the person is working to get the man it wants to be prime minister into power. Further, it is an attempt to force other parties to change their minds and join the Democrats in order to form a government," he said.

Surapong called on the Election Commission to be fair in ruling on poll infringements.

The commission announced yesterday three successful PPP candidates in Buri Ram's Constituency 1 had been disqualified.

They are Prakij Poldej, Pornchai Srisuriyanyothin and Rungroj Thongsri, commission secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiygarn said.

He said the commission found the three guilty of vote-buying and transporting voters to polling stations.

The commission revoked their right to stand in an election for one year. Where by-elections are required, the disqualified candidate must meet the costs. The three face criminal action, too.

Earlier, the commission issued yellow cards to three PPP winning candidates in Nakhon Ratchasima. A yellow card allows recipients to contest by-elections.

To date, six PPP candidates have been disqualified. This has reduced the number of seats the party won to 227.

PPP deputy secretary-general Choosak Sirinin said it would face more red and yellow cards than other parties because it had won the election.

"However, we believe other parties must get some cards," he said.

PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang admitted he was concerned the commission may red-card many successful candidates, affecting the party's House seats.

Candidate Rungroj was shocked at his disqualification. He insisted he was innocent and said the commission had not spoken to him about the allegations. Pornchai said the commission was unfair. "We have not broken the law," he insisted.

Prakij said disqualification would affect the party's ability to form a government.

Candidates who contested in seats where candidates have been disqualified will now satnd for the byelections scheduled for January 13.

Disqualified candidates are not allowed to contest and their respective parties cannot field substitute candidates.

With the PPP candidates disqualified, the failed competitors from Puea Pandin and Matchima Thipataya, who won considerable votes, would have a good chance to win in the by-election.

Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said yesterday he expected the commission to disqualify dozens of PPP candidates, affording his party a chance to form a government.

Commissioner Sumeth Ubanisakorn said it would know within days how many more winners would be disqualified.

He said the commission had received more than 100 complaints of alleged election fraud.

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