Former Rayong MFP MP faces legal action from EC

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Legal action is imminent for the former Move Forward Party (MFP) MP for Rayong, Nakhon­chai Khunnarong. The Election Commission (EC) has moved against him, citing his ineligibility to contest for a House seat. Further, they have demanded that he foots the bill for a consequent by-election.

The EC, in their announcement, pronounced that their inquiry into the dispute over Nakhon­chai’s eligibility had come to an end. Their conclusion stated that Nakhon­chai took part in the general election the previous year, fully aware of his disqualification from the race.

Nakhon­chai handed in his resignation as an MP in early August last year, confessing to a past conviction in a theft case. He served an 18-month sentence in prison 25 years ago. Following his resignation, the EC carried out a by-election on September 10 to fill the empty seat and commenced an investigation.

The law states that if an individual knowingly contests a general election despite their ineligibility, they commit an offence in violation of Section 151 of the MP election law. Additionally, they can be held financially liable for any costs accrued during that period, as per Section 420 of the Civil and Commercial Code.

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The EC has declared their intent to lay criminal charges against Nakhon­chai and send him a bill for the by-election costs.

Nakhon­chai’s assertion that he was protected by the 2007 law on rehabilitation of former offenders was dismissed by the EC. This law was enacted to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The EC clarified that while this law recognises him as never having been incarcerated, it does not erase a court ruling.

PPRP MP

A similar situation unfolded last month when the Ratchaburi Provincial Court directed former MP Pareena Kraikupt to pay the EC 7.6 million baht. This amount was to cover the costs of organising a by-election to find her successor after her disqualification two years prior.

The court’s ruling on March 11 compelled the former Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) MP to pay 7.6 million baht, including interest, to the EC. This payment was necessary due to the need for another election on the May 21, 2022, following Pareena’s disqualification by the Supreme Court for an ethics breach.

Pareena must fulfil this payment to the EC within 30 days from the ruling, reported Bangkok Post.

If she fails to comply, the court will seize assets registered in her name to compensate for the cost. Non-compliance also carries the risk of arrest and imprisonment.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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