Race for Pareena’s House seat expected in mid-May
The Election Commission (EC) should hold a by-election to replace Palang Pracharath MP Pareena Kraikupt on May 15, a source said on Friday.
The registration of candidates, meanwhile, should be held between April 21 and 25, the source added.
The EC was allocated 45 days to hold a by-election for Pareena’s House seat in Ratchaburi’s Constituency 3 after the Supreme Court slapped her with a lifetime ban from politics on Thursday.
The Thursday ruling did not just impose a lifetime ban on holding political office at any level but also banned her from voting for 10 years.
The court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions found her in violation of political ethics by possessing state-owned land, which posed a conflict of interest.
The ruling applies from March 25 last year, when the court suspended her as MP at the advice of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
Pareena’s case surfaced in 2019 when Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a member of the now-dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party, urged authorities to inspect the MP’s 711-rai poultry farm in Ratchaburi’s Chom Bung district.
The Royal Forest Department then investigated the case and found that her farm was encroaching into protected forest land.
The NACC’s secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol also said on Thursday that there were 10 similar cases of MPs, both from the coalition and the opposition, in illegal possession of state land. He added that the ruling on this case will make it easier for NACC to pursue the other cases.
Pareena, meanwhile, did not attend the court on Thursday and was represented by her lawyer Thiwa Karnkrasang.
She had won the House seat with 46,409 votes in the 2019 general elections, beating Democrat candidate Chaitip Kamolpantip with 29,423 votes and Future Forward’s Worachat Phumurai with 15,621 votes.