Pheu Thai mem­ber moves to oust Prayut


A Pheu Thai mem­ber has taken the first step to try and oust Gen Prayut Chan-ocha as prime min­is­ter on the grounds the premier owns Face­book, In­sta­gram and Twit­ter pages, as well as a web­site, which the party mem­ber claims are mass me­dia. If the court agrees with his com­plaint, the cab­i­net and premier would all face the chop in line with the char­ter. Ruangkrai Leek­it­wat­tana sub­mit­ted his pe­ti­tion to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (EC) yes­ter­day. He asked it to con­sider whether Gen Prayut should be dis­qual­i­fied from his cur­rent role un­der Sec­tion 174(4) of the 2017 con­sti­tu­tion. The pro­vi­sion pro­hibits a min­is­ter or prime min­is­ter from “be­ing an owner or share­holder of a news­pa­per or any mass me­dia”. Mr Ruangkrai re­ferred to the Face­book, In­sta­gram and Twit­ter ac­counts, as well as the web­site un­der Gen Prayut’s name opened last year. He also cited two bills on the pro­mo­tion and pro­tec­tion of ethics and pro­fes­sional stan­dards of mass me­dia that in­clude dig­i­tal and on­line me­dia. The cab­i­net has al­ready ap­proved them. “The prime min­is­ter must there­fore know that on­line plat­forms he opened are mass me­dia, and open­ing them is pro­hib­ited by the char­ter,” he said. Mr Ruangkrai also said those who hold pe­ti­tions at in­de­pen­dent or­gan­i­sa­tions or those seek­ing to be­come MPs must also ob­serve this rule. “I had to close my Face­book ac­count as I’m about to try to be­come an MP can­di­date,” he added. If the EC agrees with the move, the case will be sent to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court. Un­like cases con­sid­ered by the Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion, the sub­ject of an EC probe need not stand down if the case against them is found to have grounds be­fore it is for­warded to the next court, po­lice spokesman Put­tipong Pun­nakun said last year.

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