Paiboon Threatens to Sue Party-List MP Detractors

A file photo of Paiboon Nititawan (middle)

BANGKOK New party-list MP Paiboon Nititawan has threatened to sue anyone who accuses him of illegitimately obtaining his seat in parliament.

The 65-year-old leader of the People Reform Party is a beneficiary of the Election Commission’s revised formula for allocating party-list MP seats. Prior to the March 24 election, the commission had proposed that attaining one party-list seat would require a minimum of 71,000 votes. On Wednesday however, the commission confirmed it had changed to a new formula where only 33,000 votes is required.

“I will take legal action against anyone who accuses me of wrongfully obtaining my position,” said Paiboon at the Election Commission on Friday, when he reported himself to register as a newly-minted MP.

The People Reform Party, which pushed Buddha’s teachings as its campaign platform, won slightly over 40,000 votes.

Three political parties Pheu Thai, Future Forward and the Democrats have threatened to legally challenge the final formula used by the Election Commission. The three claim they have been disadvantaged by the sudden change to a new seat allocation method after the conclusion of voting. On social media, the winning of party-list seats by 12 small and little-known parties has drawn ridicule and even been condemned as election rigging.

The revised allocation of party-list seats has left the anti-junta camp with only 245 seats – down from a projected 251 and without the simple majority in parliament needed to form a coalition government.

Paiboon, who has said he is “1,000 per cent” behind the nomination of junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister, encouraged the Election Commission to take its own action against anyone who accuses the body of dishonesty.