Censure to go ahead despite Abhisit wrangle

The censure debate will proceed as planned despite lingering questions over the MP status of opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said yesterday.

Mr Somsak said the debate, scheduled for Nov 25-27, will proceed as the legal wrangle surrounding the order issued by the Defence Minister to strip the military rank of Mr Abhisit has not yet been concluded.

The Defence Ministry has also ordered that the salary Mr Abhisit earned as a lecturer at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy be recalled.

Mr Abhisit has been accused of using a falsified military personnel registration document to apply for the teaching job.

Former senator Ruangkrai Leekijwattana now plans to ask the Election Commission to seek a Constitution Court ruling on whether Mr Abhisit should lose his MP status over the issue.

In the censure debate motion filed last week by the opposition, Mr Abhisit was nominated as a substitute premier to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the event that she fails to survive the no-confidence vote.

Mr Somsak said the opposition must furnish the name of an alternative prime minister or the motion would be invalid.

If the opposition wants to change the name of the alternative prime minister later, he would then decide whether to allow it or not.

Mr Abhisit said the rank stripping was a renewed attempt to disqualify him from being an MP. He insisted the rank removal order was illegitimate.

Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana, who is also the Pheu Thai Party's legal expert, said Mr Abhisit was no longer qualified to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.

Mr Pongthep said Section 102 (6) of the constitution regarding qualifications of MPs prohibits a person who has been sacked from government service from contesting an election for the House of Representatives.

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Writer: Manop Thip-Osod & Mongkol Bangprapa