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Thailand's election commission to launch criminal charges against two former ministers
26/6/2007 15:18

Thailand's Election Commission (EC) has resolved to launch criminal charges against two former ministers in the ousted Thaksin administration for misconducts in last year's April 2 election, media reported today.
According to Thai News Agency, EC Secretary General Suthiphol Thavichaikarn said the five-member panel had resolved to charge former Defense Minister Thammarak Issarangura na Ayutthaya and former Transport Minister Pongsak Raktaphongphaisal in the ousted Thanksin administration and seven other associates of violating the MPs and Senatorial Election Acts as well as the Criminal Code, by being involved in forging official documents and hiring two small parties to contest last year's election.
Thammarak was former deputy leader of former ruling party Thai Rak Thai (TRT), which was founded by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 1998, but now dissolved at a May 30 verdict by the Constitution Tribunal on electoral fraud charges.
Pongsak was former TRT deputy secretary-general.
The Tribunal ruled that both the TRT executives were involved in hiring the Pattana Chart Thai and Phaendin Thai parties to contest the April 2 election in some particular constituencies so that TRT candidates did not have to secure a minimum 20 percent of eligible votes as the election law required, and helping the two parties to forge registration documents to qualify the hired contesters as candidates.
Both Pattana Chart Thai and Phaendin Thai parties were also ordered to disband in the verdict. The Tribunal also deprived executives of the involved parties, including Thaksin, Thammarak and Pongsak, of electoral rights for five years as punishment.
However, the Election Commission did not move immediately after the ruling to file a criminal lawsuit against the ex-executives.
Besides Thammarak and Pongsak, the defendants also include Trairong Intharathat, then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff attached to Thammarak as defense minister, and Phadungsak Klansanoh, then assistant chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
Sutthipol said the EC office would draft a complaint for the EC chairman to sign and submit to the Central Investigation Bureau.