Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban is in trouble as the Election Commission has decided to file electoral fraud charges against him for distributing towels carrying his and his party's name, a media report said on Friday.
If found guilty, Suthep, who is also secretary-general of the ruling Democrat Party, could be stripped of electoral rights for 10 years and face jail for up to 10 years.
Thailand's Court of Appeal has given the go ahead to the Election Commission to file the charge against Suthep, the Nation newspaper reported.
Election Commissioner Prapun Naigowit said the court sanction was required because the poll panel had endorsed the victory of politicians linked to Suthep before proof of fraud was found.
The incident occurred April 13 last year when Suthep and Democrat MPs Chumpol Kanchana and Praphon Ninwatcharamanee distributed towels carrying their names and their party's name in southern Samui island a week before local elections, in which Suthep's brother Thanee Thaugsuban and Surinya Yuennan, a politician linked to the Democrats, were contesting.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party, declined to comment, saying he preferred to look at the court verdict in detail first.