Forty Thai Senators Seek PM's Dismissal Over Cabinet Appointment

(MENAFN- AzerNews) Forty caretaker senators on Friday petitioned Thailand'sConstitutional Court to dismiss Prime Minister Srettha Thavisinover a cabinet appointment which they say breaches theconstitution, Azernews reports, citingReuters.

The senators object to the appointment of Pichit Chuenban, aformer lawyer, as minister to Srettha's office last month during acabinet reshuffle.

Pichit was jailed for six months in 2008 for contempt of courtafter an alleged attempt to bribe court officials with 2 millionbaht ($55,218) hidden in a paper grocery bag. His law licence wassuspended for five years by the Lawyers Council of Thailand afterthe incident.

The senators said they were seeking a court ruling on whetherPichit has the integrity and ethical standards required by theconstitution to hold a ministerial position and whether Srettha hadbreached the law by making the appointment.

"Pichit is not qualified to be a minister but the prime ministerstill nominated him for the position," Senator DerekridJanekrongtham told Reuters.

"The prime minister's action may therefore breach ethicalstandards as well," he said.

Government critics say Pichit was appointed to the cabinet dueto his close relationship with a client, ex-premier ThaksinShinawatra, who returned to Thailand last year after 15 years inexile. Thaksin still wields considerable political influence overthe government.

Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke dismissed the senators'accusation, and said the government had carefully vetted Pichit'squalification.

"Our legal team insists that the appointment is lawful and thereis no problem with his qualification," Chai told Reuters.

The 40 senators, whose term ended earlier this month but whoremain as caretakers until a new selection process is completed inJuly, are part of an appointed Upper House of parliament introducedby the military when it changed Thailand's constitution after a2014 coup.

Last year the same senators closed ranks with military-backedparties to block the anti-establishment Move Forward party fromforming a government.



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