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PM's dual nationality

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PM Abhisit Vejajjiva is a Thai citizen but, like it or not, it appears he is also a British citizen.

Puea Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan, left, asks Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, right, about his nationality in parliament yesterday. CHANAT KATANYU

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PM admits holding dual nationality

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva holds dual Thai and British nationality, the opposition has told the parliament as it continues to pressure Mr Abhisit to come clean about his roots.

Mr Abhisit was born in Newcastle in 1964 and became a British citizen by virtue of being born there.

He is also Thai as he was born to Thai parents, the Puea Thai Party told parliament yesterday.

The British Home Office's UK Border Agency states on its website that anyone born in Britain before Jan 1, 1983, is "almost certainly a British citizen".

The only exception is a person born to certain diplomatic staff of foreign missions who had diplomatic immunity.

Mr Abhisit can formally renounce his right to British nationality but he has not done this.

Mr Abhisit admitted to the House yesterday that he had not renounced his right to hold British nationality, which meant he continued to hold dual British and Thai nationality.

It is the first time he has acknowledged holding dual nationality after the opposition started questioning him about it a month ago. It has accused the prime minister of being deliberately evasive, but Mr Abhisit said it was a matter of law.

"I admit I have not given up [my] British nationality because it is understood legally that ... if the nationality laws are conflicting, Thai law must be used," he said.

He insisted he had made it clear all along that he intended to hold Thai nationality.

"Now if I travel to England I need to ask for a visa," he said in response to questioning in parliament.

"It is clear that I intend to hold Thai citizenship. Whether that means I hold dual citizenship or not, that's a legal issue."

Puea Thai list MP Jatuporn Prompan said Mr Abhisit was a British national under British law.

That meant he could be tried in the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity committed when his government engaged in deadly street clashes in Bangkok last year.

A charge against Mr Abhisit has been filed with the court by red shirt lawyer Robert Amsterdam. Although Thailand has not ratified the Rome Statute that created the ICC, the red shirts argue that the prime minister could be held to account by the body if he is a citizen of Britain, which is a signatory of the pact.

Mr Abhisit said his parents notified the Thai embassy in London of his birth and said he has Thai nationality. He carried a Thai passport. When he studied in Britain as a youngster, he sought a visa to enter the country as a foreign student.

citizen – someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
dual nationality – being a citizen of two countries at the same time ถือสัญชาติสองสัญชาติ
the opposition – the political party or parties that are not part of the government ฝ่ายค้าน
pressure – to try to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way กดดัน
come clean – to admit and explain something that you have kept as a secret ยอมรับ, สารภาพ
roots – the feelings or connections that you have with a place because you have lived there or your family came from there รากเหง้า, ต้นกำเนิด, บรรพบุรุษ
by virtue of – because of เนื่องจาก, เพราะ
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries  เขตแดน อาณาเขต
state – to formally write or say something, especially in a careful and clear way บอกกล่าว, แถลง, กล่าว
exception – something that is different in some way from other things and so cannot be included in a general statement ข้อยกเว้น
diplomatic – relating to relations between countries เกี่ยวกับการทูต
mission – a group of people doing given an important official job to do, especially when they are sent to another country such as working in an embassy คณะทูต
immunity – a situation where someone cannot be taken to court and punished for breaking the law ได้รับความคุ้มครอง
diplomatic immunity –  a situation where someone working for a foreign embassy cannot be taken to court and punished for breaking the law in the country where he/she is working ความคุ้มกันทางทูต
renounce – to state officially that you are no longer going to keep a title, position, etc. ปฎิเสธ, ไม่ยอมรับ, ละทิ้ง
acknowledge – to accept or admit that something exists, is true or is real ยอมรับ
deliberately – done intentionally; done on purpose จงใจ ตั้งใจ
evasive – not willing to give clear answers to a question ซึ่งตอบไม่ตรงประเด็น
matter – something that you are discussing, considering or dealing with  สิ่งที่พูดถึง ประเด็นที่พูดถึง
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
conflicting – having seriously difference that cannot all be right at the same time ที่ขัดแย้งกัน
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true, even when other people will not believe you ยืนกราน
intend – to plan to do; to want to happen ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น, วางแผนไว้
citizenship – the legal right to be a citizen of a particular country  สิทธิความเป็นพลเมือง
try – to examine evidence in court and decide whether somebody is innocent or guilty พิจารณาคดี
criminal court – a court which hears criminal cases, i.e., cases where people are accused of breaking a law and where punishment involves going to jail ศาลอาญา
alleged – claimed to be true although not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
humanity – people in general  คนทั่วไป, มนุษย์โลก
commit – to do something wrong or illegal ทำความผิด
engage – to cause to take part in a particular activity  ให้มีส่วนร่วมใน
clash – a fight between groups of people การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย
charge – an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime ข้อหา
file – to take official action like making a complaint  ยื่นคำร้อง
lawyer – an attorney ทนาย
ratify – to make an agreement officially valid by voting for or signing it อนุมัติ,ให้สัตยาบัน,ยืนยัน
statute – a law which has been formally approved and written down รัฐบัญญัติ, พระราชบัญญัติ, ฎหมาย
argue – to give reasons why you think that something is right/wrong, true/not true, etc, especially to persuade people that you are right ห้เหตุผล, อ้างเหตุผล
hold to account – to cause someone to take responsibility for something ทำให้รับผิดชอบ
body – a group of people who work or act together, often for an official purpose, or who are connected in some other way กลุ่มคน
signatory – a person, a country or an organization that has signed an official agreement ผู้ลงนามในสัญญา
pact – an agreement between two or more countries, people or organisations in which they promise to do something ข้อสัญญา, ข้อตกลง
notify – to tell someone officially about something แจ้ง
embassy – a group of officials who represent their government in a foreign country สถานทูต
sought (past tense of seek) – asked for something, or to tried to get something พยายามได้มา


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