Democrats aim to oust PM and FM

The Democrats say giving former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra back his passport is a crime serious enough to impeach those responsible, especially Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and even Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping inspect an honour guard at Government House during an official visit by the Chinese official on Thursday. APICHART JINAKUL

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Yingluck faces impeachment

House will be asked to query Thaksin passport

Nattaya Chetchotiros 
Mongkol Bangprapa

The Democrat Party will launch impeachment proceedings against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul next week over the return of a passport to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Wirat Kalayasiri, leader of the opposition party's legal team, said a petition will be filed with the Senate speaker for submission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

He said the party's bid to impeach Ms Yingluck and Mr Surapong and unseat them for abusing their power in re-issuing the passport to Thaksin will be signed by 125 Democrat MPs.

The move comes after the Foreign Ministry admitted it issued a passport to Thaksin after he applied for it at the Thai embassy in Abu Dhabi on Oct 25.

Mr Wirat said the Democrat Party will also file a separate criminal complaint against Mr Surapong for violating Section 157 of the Criminal Code for negligence of duty.

He accused the foreign minister of interfering with Department of Special Investigation (DSI) operations regarding issuing an arrest warrant for Thaksin on terrorism charges.

Mr Wirat said the former prime minister is not eligible to hold a passport on the grounds that he is wanted on terrorism charges and is a convict who is avoiding a jail sentence.

Mr Surapong yesterday justified the decision to reissue a passport to Thaksin in a House meeting during a fresh interpellation submitted by Democrat MP Ong-art Klampaiboon.

The foreign minister cited Section 21(2) of the passport regulation, saying the criteria used to withhold a passport for Thaksin were not complete.

According to Section 21(2), a ban can be imposed if there is an arrest warrant and police, judicial officials or administrative officers agree with the ban.

He said the Foreign Ministry wrote to the Supreme Court on Aug 11 and the police on Aug 20 in 2008 to seek advice but nothing was said about the passport ban.

Mr Ong-art argued the Supreme Court had made it clear it was not within its authority to suggest a passport ban and that this power lay with the Foreign Ministry.

The Democrat MP also said that Section 21(3) of the passport regulation states clearly that the ministry has the authority to deny a passport to a person who is not allowed to leave the country.

Mr Surapong said Thaksin was allowed by the Supreme Court to leave the country to travel to Japan and China.

"It isn't about a ban on travelling overseas. The court did give him permission to travel temporarily. So the [ministry] officials could not deny him a passport," he said.

Mr Surapong and Mr Ong-art also exchanged barbs over Thaksin's right to hold a Thai passport.

According to the foreign minister, as a Thai national, Thaksin needs the passport as a means of identification when travelling overseas.

"But it doesn't take a genius to know whether a convicted person should be given a passport or not. If he has to get a passport, it should be a passport to jail," Mr Ong-art retorted.

impeachment – the process of formally accusing a public official of a serious crime relating to their job การกล่าวโทษเจ้าหน้าที่รัฐว่าทำผิดศีลธรรมหรือจรรยาบรรณ
query – to ask a question ถาม
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
proceedings – the actions taken, usually in court, to settle a legal matter  การดำเนินการ
ousted – forced out of a position of power ขับออกจากอำนาจ
the opposition - the elected politicians who belong to the largest party which does not form the government พรรคฝ่ายค้าน
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
petition – a document signed by a large number of people demanding or requesting some action from the government or another authority การถวายฎีกา,การร้องเรียน
file – to take official action like making a complaint  ยื่นคำร้อง
Senate – one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand วุฒิสภา
submission – formally giving something to someone so that can make a decision about it การยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
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
bid – an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
unseat – to force out of power  โค่นอำนาจ
abuse of power – the illegal use of power in a bad, dishonest or harmful way ใช้อำนาจในการกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
issue – to officially give out  ออก
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
separate – different; not connected ซึ่งไม่ต่อเนื่อง, ซึ่งไม่เชื่อมกัน
criminal – relating to illegal acts เกี่ยวกับอาชญากรรม
complaint – when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory การร้องเรียน
violate – to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
Criminal Code – the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment ประมวลกฎหมายอาญา
negligence – when you do not give enough care or attention to someone or something ความประมาท, ความไม่เอาใจใส่
interfere – to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this  แทรกแซง
(DSI) Department of Special Investigation – a police department investigating serious crimes involving influential people, organised crime, or crimes using highly sophisticated technology กรมสอบสวนคดีพิเศษ
arrest warrant – a document signed by a judge allowing police to arrest someone หมายจับ
terrorism – the use of violence to achieve political aims การใช้ความรุนแรงเพื่อข้อเรียกร้องทางการเมือง
charge – an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime ข้อหา
eligible – allowed by rules or laws to do something or to receive something มีสิทธิ
grounds – reasons for saying or doing something เหตุผล
convict – someone who has been proven guilty of a crime นักโทษ, ผู้ที่ถูกตัดสินว่ามีความผิด
sentence – a punishment given by a court of law การตัดสินลงโทษ
justify – to show that there is good reason for something แสดงเหตุผลที่ดีพอ
interpellation – (in parliament) a demand that a government official explain some act or policy
submit – to formally give something to someone so that they can make a decision about it  ยื่น เสนอ (เอกสาร) ให้พิจารณา
cited – mentioned ถูกอ้าง, ถูกกล่าวอ้าง
regulation – an official rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ
criteria – a standard that is used for judging something or for making a decision about something  บรรทัดฐาน
withhold – to deliberately not give something to someone ระงับ, ถอนกลับ
ban – an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something การห้าม
impose – to force someone to accept something กำหนด,บังคับ
advice – an opinion or a suggestion about what somebody should do in a particular situation  คำแนะนำ
Supreme Court
authority – power อำนาจ
deny – to not allow someone to have or do something ปฏิเสธ
permission – allowing someone to do something การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
temporarily – for a limited period of time ชั่วคราว
barb – something said that is intended to hurt someone’s feelings
identification – the process of showing, proving or recognizing who or what somebody/something is การแสดงตัว
genius – a person who is unusually intelligent or artistic, or who has a very high level of skill, especially in one area คนเก่ง, คนหลักแหลม, คนมีความสามารถพิเศษ, คนมีพรสวรรค์
retort – to reply immediately in an angry or humorous way to something that someone has said  โต้ตอบ, สวนตอบ

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager