Government loses another MP as member heads to prison

Another blow to the ruling Palang Pracharath party and coalition after the MP for Kamphaeng Phet province, Pol Lt-Col Waipote Arpornrat, lost his Member of Parliament status after the Supreme Court upheld the 4 year prison sentence handed down by the Appeals Court for his involvement in the disruption of the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya back in 2009.

As the Supreme Court is the final arbiter in the case, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngarm said that Pol Lt-Col Waipote immediately loses his parliamentary membership and is not protected by parliamentary immunity.

12 former leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, including Waipote, were sentenced to 4 years in prison for their roles in leading hundreds of red-shirt protesters in the storming of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort in Pattaya, where the ASEAN meeting was being held, resulting to the abrupt cancellation of the summit and evacuation of all ASEAN leaders.

Meanwhile, a Palang Pracharat party source said that the party might field Waipote’s son, Mr. Petchapoom, to contest the by-election in Constituency 2 of Kamphaeng Phet province.

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Whilst the four year sentence may appear severe for the protests at Pattaya a decade ago, the Deputy PM, and one of the key government figures, Wissanu Krea-ngarm took no time in condemning his actions and announcing that he loses his parliamentary position. Meanwhile, Wissanu has shown much great leniency towards the Palang Pracharat ‘fixer’ Thammarat Prompao, the MP for Phayao province, over his 4 years spent in prison in Australia for heroin drug trafficking.

Captain Prompeao has dismissed the Australian court papers revealed in a Sydney Morning Herald article last Monday as heresy and exaggerations. In parliament yesterday, he told parliament that the reports and court records were wrong.

The Palang Pracharat coalition of some 19 minor parties can ill afford to lose any more MPs as it nears a dangerous minority government situation where opposition MPs outnumber the coalition, leaving the government open for a no confidence vote.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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