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PM takes flak over military residence

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appears in a pensive mood as the opposition singles him out in the censure debate which entered its third day on Wednesday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha faces the prospect of being taken to the Constitutional Court over his allegedly unlawful occupation of an army residence.

Prasert Chanthararuangthong, a Nakhon Ratchasima MP for the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, told parliament during Wednesday's censure debate that Prayut's tenancy of the army house constituted a conflict of interest.

The MP said Prayut, who is also defence minister, should have moved out of the house when he retired as army chief on Sept 30, 2014 and that by staying on free of charge he defied army regulations, which disqualified him as prime minister.

"It should not be up to the army chief to decide who gets to remain in military houses beyond their retirement," Mr Prasert said.

The other armed forces have fixed deadlines for vacating military accommodation. Navy officers must vacate within 90 days of retiring while air force officers must leave seven days before retirement, according to Mr Prasert. Water and electricity charges at Prayut's army house amounted to an estimated one million baht since he retired, he added.

He said Prayut had disregarded the regulations and he planned to petition the Constitutional Court to remove him as prime minister.

Prayut declined to comment on the allegation.


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Vocabulary:

censure debate : formally criticising a cabinet minister or the full cabinet in a parliamentary session after which members vote to support or reject the - การอภิปรายไม่ไว้วางใจ

conflict of interest : a situation in which someone cannot make a fair decision because they will be affected by the results - ผลประโยชน์ทับซ้อน

Constitutional Court (noun): the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution - ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ

decline (verb): to say politely that you will not accept something, do something, or say something - ปฏิเสธ, ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ 

defy : to refuse to obey or accept someone or something - เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ

disqualification : a decision not to allow someone to do something because they have done something wrong - การตัดสิทธิ

flak : criticism - การวิจารณ์, การต่อต้าน

opposition : of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government - ฝ่ายค้าน  ผู้ต่อต้าน

retire : to stop working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work - เกษียณอายุ

tenant : a person who pays rent for the use of a room, building, land, etc. to the person who owns it - ผู้เช่า

vacate : to leave a place - ออกจาก, ออกไปจาก, ย้ายออก

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