Petchaboon provincial head faces election ban over latest Prawit billboard 

By Thai Newsroom Reporters

THE HEAD OF A PROVINCIAL administration endorsed by caretaker Prime Minister-cum-Palang Pracharath party leader Prawit Wongsuwan in his planned contest for MP might probably be banned from running due to the way in which he has advertised himself.

Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn posted on his Facebook page to allege that the Palang Pracharath contestant in question, namely Akhradet Thongjaisod, who currently performs as head of Petchaboon provincial administrative organisation, may have evidently broken the law by having a portrait of himself displayed on an advertising signboard which is evidently larger than legally allowed for use by any electoral candidates for the time being.

The gigantic roadside sign spotted in Petchaboon’s Constituency 3 where the caretaker Premier-cum-Palang Pracharath leader officially visited yesterday features Akradet’s enlarged picture underneath that of Deputy Finance Minister-cum-Palang Pracharath secretary-general Santi Prompat on one side of the billboard whilst that of Prawit’s is ostensibly displayed on the other side.

Portraits of all five Palang Pracharath MPs of the upper central province are featured in relatively small pictures underneath that of Akradet’s. However, the former commissioner of the polling agency said those lawmakers of Petchaboon cannot be charged with any wrongdoing, given the fact that they were literally playing the role of hosts to the visiting Prawit.  

Somchai who currently performs as director of the Thai Liberal Party’s strategic policy campaign suggested those who may contest against the Palang Pracharath candidate for that particular constituency file a lawsuit to accuse him of being advertised on the larger-than-legally-allowed billboard.

According to a guideline recently issued by the Election Commission, all electoral candidates including current MPs and cabinet members are legally prohibited from advertising themselves on enlarged signboards at public places or handing out money as a giveaway or donation either in overt or hidden fashion as of last Saturday which kicked off a 180-day period prior to March 24, the final date on which the four-year term of the current House of Representatives is scheduled to end, unless the House is dissolved by the prime minister in the meantime, thus prompting the general election to be held in a 60-day time.

Nevertheless, Prawit categorically denied that he himself was spearheading a Palang Pracharath campaign trail, given those roadside signs which, he said, only publicise the government’s policies and measures to address the economic woes of the impoverished farmers and other  people in the provinces where he has officially visited.

The caretaker premier maintained that he was merely visiting those villagers and tended to addressing their hand-to-mouth problems purely in his capacity as “man in government” and not as “a vote-wooing politician” and that he had had no “hidden agenda” behind his provincial tours as alleged by his critics, albeit given those colossal billboards which ostensibly advertise him and the party’s logo.

CAPTIONS:

Top: The latest signboard featuring caretaker Prime Minister-cum-Palang Pracharath party leader Prawit Wongsuwan, right, with Petchaboon provincial administrative head Akhradet Thongjaisod at middle left. Photo: INN News

Front Page: Former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn. Photo: Thai Rath


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