Cabinet troubles

The PM's troubled relations whih his coalition partners seems likely to take a turn for the worse.


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PM, coalition allies at odds once again

Abhisit’s quit-before-poll call to ministers ignored

POST REPORTERS

Kuerkul: Will take 20 days’ leave

Relations between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his coalition partners are threatening to deteriorate further after the Chart Thai Pattana and Bhumjaithai parties ignored his call for their ministers to surrender their cabinet posts before contesting coming by-elections.

Mr Abhisit vowed yesterday to get tough in the cabinet meeting today to force Deputy Transport Minister Kuerkul Danchaivichit  of Chart Thai Pattana and Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat of Bhumjaithai to step down from the cabinet before running in the Dec 12 by-elections.

‘‘I understand the decisions of other parties,’’ the prime minister said.

‘‘But what I am trying to do is to set the same standard.’’

Mr Abhisit has pressed the coalition parties to follow the example set by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban when he resigned from his cabinet post to run in the Oct 30 by-election in Surat Thani.

The premier temporarily took charge of the Democrat Party secretary-general’s duties until Mr Suthep was reappointed after winning the seat in the House.

‘‘The day Mr Suthep resigned did not mean there were not problems in the cabinet. I had to take over his responsibilities for a long time. But we have to maintain that good standard,’’ the prime minister said.

Mr Abhisit said it would only cause confusion if Chart Thai Pattana and Bhumjaithai had their cabinet ministers take leave during by-election campaigning rather than resign.

Both the Chart Thai Pattana and Bhumjaithai parties yesterday gave their candidates the nod to hold on to their ministerial posts while running in the by-elections.

Boonjong: Gets his party’s backing

Chart Thai Pattana decided Mr Kuerkul would take 20 days’ leave during the by-election campaign to avoid being criticised for gaining an advantage over other candidates by being in the cabinet.

Party leader Chumphol Silpa-archa said Chart Thai Pattana did not have any regulations on making members who are cabinet ministers resign before allowing them to run in a by-election.

Most Chart Thai Pattana members agreed Mr Kuerkul should not quit as called for by Mr Abhisit because the issue was an internal matter.

Mr Kuerkul will compete in the by-election in Ayutthaya’s Constituency 1 where he hopes to be re-elected.

He was among six MPs disqualified by the Constitution Court on Nov 3 for violating constitutional regulations on holding shares in a state concessionaire.

The other cabinet minister in the same boat as Mr Kuerkul is Mr Boonjong, who will run in the by-election in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Constituency 6.

Party spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said after the Bhumjaithai meeting yesterday the party backed Mr Boonjong staying on in office during the by-election campaign but it was up to the minister himself to decide.

The constitution did not ban a cabinet minister from competing in a by-election and the party did not factor in Mr Abhisit’s demand when it decided on the matter, Mr Supachai said.

The decision by Mr Suthep to quit his cabinet position before his by-election contest did not mean he had higher ethical standards, the spokesman said.

coalition – a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together  พรรคร่วมรัฐบาล
allies – people, groups or countries that agree to work together  ผู้ให้การสนับสนุน
at odds with – disagreeing with ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ
poll – an election การเลือกตั้ง
ignore - to intentionally not listen or give attention to ทำเพิกเฉย
threaten – (of something bad)to likely to happen or to affect you
deteriorate – to get worse แย่ลง เลวร้ายลง
surrender – to officially give up something สละ
cabinet post – a member of the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy ตำแหน่งรัฐมนตรี
contest – to compete for something โต้แย้ง ถกเถียง
by-election – an election held to fill an empty seat in parliament  การเลือกตั้งซ่อม
vow – to make a formal and serious promise to do something สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
get tough – to act in a strong and determined to deal with someone or something
standard – a rule for behaving which should be obeyed มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
press – to try in a determined way to make someone do something ผลักดัน, บังคับ, รบเร้า, กระตุ้น
resign – to leave a job permanently ลาออกจากตำแหน่ง
temporarily – for a limited period of time ชั่วคราว
take charge – to take control and become responsible for someone or something ทำหน้าที่, ควบคุมดูแล
reappoint – to choose someone officially for a job or responsibility a second time after they have left the position temporarily แต่งตั้งใหม่
House  – House of Representatives สภา
responsibility – a duty ความรับผิดชอบ
maintain – to keep รักษา
leave – time take off from work, either paid or unpaid  การพักงาน
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
give the nod – to approve; to give official permission อนุมัต
gain an advantage – to do something to give yourself a greater chance of success ได้เปรียบ
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
regulation – an official rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
internal – existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country ภายใน
matter – a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
disqualify – to not allow someone to do something  because they have committed an offence ทำให้หมดสภาพ
violate – to do something that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. ละเมิดกฎหมาย
hold shares – to owns some of the equal parts into which the ownership of a company is divided ถือหุ้น
state – government รัฐบาล
concessionaire – a person or company that has the legal right given by a business or governemnt to sell things ผู้ได้รับสัมปทาน
in the same boat – in the same situation
back – to support สนับสนุน
ban – to officially say that someone is not allowed to do something   ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
factor in – to consider; to give careful thought to something before making a decision พิจารณา
ethical – involving the principles used for deciding what is right and what is wrong  ตามหลักจรรยา

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Writer: Terry Fredrickson
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