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Veteran politician quits Democrat over sexual assault scandal

Former Democrat Party deputy leader Vittaya Kaewparadai resigned from the party today (Friday), with a parting warning to the executive committee that the sex assault scandal in which Prinn Panitchpakdi is allegedly implicated, has seriously damaged the party’s reputation and that the committee must do more.

A former health minister, government whip chief, and MP representing Thailand’s southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Vittaya said he has been a member of various parties, but has spent most of his time with the Democrat party, adding that, while the party has weathered both good and bad times, this sex scandal is damaging.

The executive committee, he said, should demonstrate clearly that ethical standards are above any legal standard.

Even if the party is not in the wrong, but someone in the party is wrong, the executive committee should be held accountable “because it is they who brought Prinn into the party in the first place.”

Prinn is facing multiple sexual assault allegations, some dating back to the time he spent in the UK, including rape, filed against him by at least 15 women.

Vittaya warned that, unless there are changes in the executive committee, there will be no future for Thailand’s oldest political party, adding that he would return if there are major changes in the party, including someone being held accountable for the handling of the scandal.

He said he had not informed anyone in advance, except Trairong Suwankiri, an advisor to the party, about his decision to leave.

Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit said earlier that the executive committee should stay on to resolve this controversy.

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