Pheu Thai issues warning to court

Thawil case 'a plot to install unelected PM'

Pheu Thai has alleged the charter court’s acceptance of a case involving whether Yingluck Shinawatra should be ejected from office is instrumental in a plan to install an unelected premier.

It warned the Constitutional Court not to overstep its authority by making a ruling on the appointment of a new prime minister when the court considers a petition on Ms Yingluck’s caretaker premier status. The warning was issued at a press conference organised by Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan, secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai and party strategist Pokin Polakul.

It came after the Constitutional Court agreed to rule if Ms Yingluck violated the constitution over the transfer of National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri and if her premier status should be terminated.

The Pheu Thai strongmen claimed a petition seeking the ruling on Ms Yingluck’s status was politically motivated with the intent to pave the way for the installation of a “neutral” prime minister.

The petition was lodged by a group of senators led by Paiboon Nititawan after the Supreme Administrative Court ruled Mr Thawil’s transfer to the post of prime minister’s adviser was unlawful and ordered him to be reinstated.

To back the claim, Mr Pokin pointed to an additional request in the petition in which the Constitutional Court was asked to consider the appointment of a new premier under Section 172 and Section 173 of the charter.

He said such the request is ‘’overboard’’, and the Constitutional Court has no authority to make a ruling. If it makes a judgement on this, it would be like tearing up the constitution which would be tantamount to a ‘’judicial coup’’.

Mr Pokin stressed that Sections 172 and 173 cannot be applied in this situation. The charter itself states clearly that a prime minister must be an MP and the premier’s nomination must be endorsed by the House of Representatives.

Currently there is no House of Representatives.

Sections 172 and 173 deal with the selection of a prime minister within 30 days after the House convenes and a scenario in which none of the prime minister candidates receive at least half the support from the House.

The Pheu Thai strategist also insisted the Supreme Administrative Court ruled the prime minister had the full authority to make the transfer, but it only found the appointment unlawful. He said the transfer order was not an act of interference.

According to Mr Pokin, the Constitutional Court has no cause to rule to ‘’repeatedly’’ terminate the status of Ms Yingluck and the cabinet. Technically, their status as cabinet members ended as a consequence of the House dissolution. They remain as caretakers under Section 181.

Mr Pokin cited an earlier court decision in which it had refused to deliver a ruling on the parliamentary status of Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on the grounds that Mr Abhisit was no longer an MP because of the House having been dissolved at the time.

About the author

Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Position: Reporter