Small parties looking to use “Paiboon Model” after court ruling

A court ruling this week that found the deputy leader of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party not guilty of breaching electoral laws when he dissolved his former party to join the PPRP will likely pave way for others to do the same, analysts and other parliamentarians said Thursday.

The Constitutional Court said this week that Palang Pracharath Party Deputy Leader Paiboon Nititawan will be able to keep his MP status when he dissolved his own party, the People’s Reform Party, and joined the PPRP in August 2019.

Critics had pointed to a clause within the Political Party Act which said that Paiboon was obligated to stay on as a party leader of the People’s Reform Party, even if it was officially dissolved until the party’s financial matters were resolved.

He allegedly did not do that, according to his critics. They also pointed to how Paiboon became a party-list MP for the PPRP even though he wasn’t on the ballot for the party during elections.

These illegalities were bought up to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai who referred the matter over to the Constitutional Court who dismissed the accusations.

The ruling will likely prompt leaders of other small parties to act should they decide to join the money-rich ruling party.

“This is a model that small parties can use,” said Pichate Satirachaval, leader of the Prachatham Thai Party.

Pichate said he was “relieved” when he heard the results of the ruling because there was now another option for smaller parties ahead of the next election.

“I have spoken to Captain Thammanat Prompao, the secretary-general of the PPRP, who have always been taking care of smaller parties and he signalled that General Prawit Wongsuwan, as the leader of the PPRP, will not leave anyone behind,” he said.

Pichate is currently in the process of dissolving his Prachatham Thai Party.

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