November 7, 2023
BANGKOK – Last week, the party called a meeting of its executives and MPs to decide the fate of two MPs accused of sexual misconduct.
Despite facing at least three claims of sexual harassment, Move Forward’s Bangkok MP, Chaiyamparwaan Manpianjit, escaped expulsion. However, Wuttiphong Thonglour, the other, MP from Prachinburi was banished from the party.
The disparity in punishment led to criticism from several people, both inside and outside the party. The majority of these people were female party members who thought the decision was “shameful”.
Why Move Forward could not expel its MP
Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon said that a committee inquiring into the allegations against the two MPs had found the accusations credible, prompting the party to call a special meeting to decide on expelling them.
The move to expel Wuttiphong received 120 out of 128 votes cast by meeting attendees, while 106 members voted against Chaiyamphawan.
The party’s constitution, however, stipulates that a political party may remove a member only if three-quarters of its members vote in favour of the resolution — 116 in this case.
The results of the vote meant Wuttiphong was banished, while Chaiyamphawan was allowed to stay in the party, although he was put on probation.
The Bangkok MP was required to admit to his wrongdoing, as well as apologise to and compensate the victim, failing which the party would review its decision.
Several figures conveyed their dissatisfaction with the move. For instance another Bangkok MP, Rukchanok Srinork, said that she would not participate in the party’s activities until Chaiyamphawan “sincerely” admitted to his wrongdoing and offered an apology to the victims.
Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a party mentor, said the actions against the two MPs, especially the one who was spared expulsion, were too light. He urged Chaiyamphawan to step down as an MP, as a way to show accountability.
Numerous political analysts are raising doubts about Chaiyamphawan’s potential intimate relationship with the 22 people who voted against his expulsion. Move Forward refused to reveal the names of those members.
Chaiyamphawan has refuted all claims, saying he has no plans to resign, and will instead fight the accusations against him.
He said he was determined to prove his innocence through the evidence in his possession, like conversations in the LINE messaging app between him and the complainants. He reiterated that he never had any intention of committing sexual wrongdoing.