A Convicted MP Can Become Minister: Deputy PM

Capt. Thammanat Prompao at a café inside the Democrat Party headquarters on March 4.
Capt. Thammanat Prompao at a café inside the Democrat Party headquarters on March 4.

BANGKOK — A deputy PM confirmed on Wednesday that a Phalang Pracharat MP nominated to the incoming cabinet is eligible despite allegations he has been convicted of a crime in another country.

Wissanu Krea-Ngam said Capt. Thammanat Prompao’s eligibility for a seat in the cabinet is not in question because he is not being prosecuted by the Thai judiciary.

Wissanu’s clarification came hours before the new cabinet was unveiled in the Government Gazette. The list named Thammanat as an Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

“In the past, there was an MP who had been prosecuted in Hong Kong for drug trafficking, but his status was not affected in Thailand,” Wissanu said. “Although his reputation among many things might have been impacted, his deeds and ethical standards have to be considered separately.”

Thammanat was once stripped of his military rank for alleged involvement in a murder case in 1998, but was reinstated after the court acquitted him.

The latest allegations against Thammanat came after an opposition politician claimed he was previously convicted of a crime in a foreign country. No public records of such conviction could be found as of publication time. 

The Constitution states that a person who is being involved in narcotics offenses or dismissed from a public position is prohibited from being elected as an MP.

Other notable ministers

In the incoming cabinet, junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha will hold double posts as Prime Minister and Defense Minister. Current defense minister Prawit Wongsuwan will continue serving as Deputy Prime Minister.

Leaders of Phalang Pracharath Party and other coalition parties were awarded key portfolios in the cabinet, such as Finance (Phalang Pracharath), Agriculture (Democrats), Transport (Bhumjaithai) and the Prime Minister’s Office (Chart Pattana).

Some ministerial positions remain unchanged, like Interior Affairs and Foreign Affairs. Wissanu Krea-ngam and Somkid Jatusripitak also return as Deputy Prime Ministers.

Stoners can sigh in relief because Bhumjaithai’s weed-law champion Anutin Charnvirakul is the Public Health Minister.

Former Yellowshirt leaders were promoted to head several ministries, including Education and Industry.

Additional reporting: Teeranai Charuvastra

Note: Parts of this article were removed per Khaosod’s advice to avoid possible legal action.