Jaruvan to be tentatively endorsed

The Election Commission (EC) will tentatively approve Khunying Jaruvan Maintaka as Bangkok senator.

There have been three petitions against her endorsement, said Pol Lt Gen Taweesak Toochinda, a Bangkok election commissioner.

A subcommittee already talked to the petitioners last week and will ask the khunying to give statements on April 17-18.

In any case, the investigation is unlikely to be finished by April 29, the deadline for the consideration, which is set 30 days after the March 30 election.

As a result, the EC will tentatively endorse her after which it will have one year to consider the complaints and remove her later if the charges have grounds.

The term of the current Bangkok EC will end in June and applications are accepted between April 19-26.

The selection method for Bangkok EC differs from what is used in other provinces.

The Bangkok EC will be appointed by a 18-member screening committee, comprising the permanent secretaries of all 13 ministries, the National Police chief, the attorney general and representatives from three mass media bodies. The process will take a month.

At least one group filed a petition on April 4  against her endorsement, saying Khunying Jaruvan had won because appointed senator Paiboon Nititawan had spoken on the People's Democratic Reform Committee protest stage in a manner that had put other senate candidates in Bangkok at a disadvantage.

The group alleged Mr Paiboon had abused his authority by campaigning for Khunying Jaruvan and saying he would like to have her work with him as a team in the Senate.

Khunying Jaruvan was also charged in cases now being considered by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

In the most recent case, she was accused of misappropriating state funds allocated for an Auditor General's Office seminar which turned out to be no seminar but a kathin (robe offerings for monks) ceremony held under her name.

In another case, she was accused of asking for free air tickets from Thai Airways International for her daughter and sister to accompany her on an overseas seminar trip, and approving their allowances for the seminar as if they were officials.

Khunying Jaruvan was a member of the now-defunct Assets Scrutiny Committee established by the 2006 coup makers to probe the wealth of politicians, especially Thaksin Shinawatra.

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