Future MFP MP arrested for drink driving in Bangkok

A soon-to-be Member of Parliament from Thailand’s Move Forward Party (MFP) was arrested for drink driving in Bangkok in the early hours of the morning. Today, she apologised for her behaviour and announced her resignation from the party.

The drink driver held the 27th spot on the MFP’s party list, meaning she would have definitely become an MP once MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat formed a coalition government following the opposition parties’ victory in Sunday’s elections – given that the democratic process is not interrupted by the military as it has been in the past.

Last night, traffic police set up an alcohol measurement checkpoint to catch drink drivers along the Prasert-Manukit Road in Chorakhe subdistrict in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district.

At 2am, officers stopped a “suspicious” looking car with a Bangkok registration plate driven by Nateepat Kulsetthasith, a party list member belonging to the MFP – the opposition party that took Thailand’s elections by storm on Sunday.

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For this election, the House of Representatives has 500 members – 400 elected from constituencies and 100 from party lists. Yesterday, the Election Commission declared the MFP the winner of Sunday’s election – with 151 MPs, 112 from constituencies, and 39 from the party list.

Holding the 27th spot on MFP‘s party list, Nateepat was guaranteed a seat as an MP once the new coalition government is formed. Now, party list member No.40 will take her seat in parliament.

At first, Nateepat refused to take a breathalyser test. Police said she made some phone calls to seek advice and still wouldn’t cooperate or follow the procedure.

At 3am, Nateepat’s companion arrived at the checkpoint and persuaded her to cooperate with the traffic police. At 3.20am, Nateepat took the test and her alcohol content measured 66 mg/dl – exceeding the legal limit of 50 mg/dl.

Police arrested Nateepat and escorted her to Khok Kram Police Station in Bangkok to be prosecuted. In Thailand, drink driving is punishable by a jail term not exceeding one year, a fine of 5,000 – 20,000 bath, or both.

The vocal call for change in Thailand was evidenced on Sunday after 14 million people voted for MFP, who have promised structural reform of Thailand’s deeply-ingrained institutions.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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