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.