The Democrats aren't wasting any time in going after the new foreign minister for his alleged role in getting former PM Thaksin a visa to Japan.
Democrats move to impeach Surapong
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul
The Democrat Party has initiated a bid to impeach Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul for breaching the charter in his handling of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's planned visit to Japan.
The move came after Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, confirmed that Tokyo had decided to issue a visa for the ex-premier Thaksin after receiving a request from the Thai government.
Mr Yukio was quoted as saying that "the Thai government has taken a policy of not prohibiting former prime minister Thaksin from visiting any country and requested that Japan issue a visa."
Nipit Intarasombat, head of the opposition party's legal team, said the foreign minister's press interviews indicate the minister had engaged a policy before the Pheu Thai-led government had delivered its policy statement to parliament.
Mr Surapong's actions had breached Section 176 of the constitution, he said.
Mr Surapong met Japanese ambassador Seiji Kojima to apparently discuss Thaksin's trip to Japan and the foreign minister said on several occasions that Thaksin's visit would benefit Thailand, Mr Nipit said.
Mr Nipit said the party's legal team had drafted an impeachment document and would collect signatures from 125 MPs before submitting it to the Senate on Aug 22.
The impeachment bid would be sent to the National Anti-Corruption Commission if it is approved by three-fifths of the Senate, or 90 senators.
The Democrats also filed a complaint with Phaya Thai police against Mr Surapong, accusing him of helping Thaksin escape a court detention order.
Mr Nipit said the foreign minister had been aware of Thaksin's planned visit to Japan but failed to coordinate with authorities in seeking his arrest and bringing him to justice. Moreover, the foreign minister is believed to have asked Japan to facilitate the trip.
According to Mr Nipit, there is no evidence that Mr Surapong acted based on an order from the prime minister.
"But if he didn't get an order, he wouldn't have done it," he said.
Democrat MP Watchara Phetthong said yesterday that Mr Surapong is the "devil in disguise".
"We'll see a foreign minister in jail," he said. "Instead of bringing Thaksin to justice, he urged Japan to grant him a visa. Mr Surapong's act is equivalent to aiding Thaksin in his escape."
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied any involvement in Thaksin's visa for Japan.
impeach – to formally accuse a public official of a serious crime relating to their job กล่าวโทษเจ้าหน้าที่รัฐว่าทำผิดศีลธรรมหรือจรรยาบรรณ
initiate – to make something start ริเริ่ม
bid – an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
breach – to fail to follow a law or rule ละเมิดกฎข้อบังคับ
charter – a constitution รัฐธรรมนูญ
ousted – forced out of a position of power ขับออกจากอำนาจ
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
issue – to officially give out ออก
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
prohibit – to not allow; to ban ห้าม
opposition party –a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government พรรคฝ่ายค้าน
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
interview – a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. การสัมภาษณ์
indicate – to show that something is true, exists or will happen แสดง, ทำให้รู้
engage – to cause to take part in a particular activity ให้มีส่วนร่วมใน
ambassador – a senior official who lives in a foreign country and represents his or her own country there เอกอัครราชทูต
apparently – based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly ตามที่ได้รู้มา
benefit – an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help ผลประโยชน์
draft – to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted ร่าง
signature –a person name written in a special way by the person ลายมือชื่อ
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
Senate – one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand วุฒิสภา
commission – a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
file a complaint –to make an official statement that someone has done something wrong ยื่นคำร้อง
detention – the condition of being forced officially to stay in a place การกักตัว
aware – to know that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
coordinate – to organise the different parts of a job or plan so that the people involved work together effectively ประสานงานกัน
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
arrest – (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime การจับกุม
bring to justice – to put someone on trial in a court of law นำตัวมาดำเนินคดีตามกฎหมาย
facilitate – to make it possible or easier for something to happen ทำให้สะดวกขึ้น
evidence – facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
devil – the most powerful evil spirit in many religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam ภูต
disguise– wearing or doing somethiing to change the way that you look so that people will not recognise you ปลอมตัว
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
equivalent – the same as เท่าเทียมกันกับ
deny – to say that something is not true ปฏิเสธ
involvement – the act or process of taking part in something การเกี่ยวข้อง