EC puts Don in a dilemma

EC puts Don in a dilemma

A controversial decision by the Election Commission (EC) has put the prime minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in an uncomfortable place. On one hand, being in evident violation of an anti-corruption clause in the 2017 constitution, he should resign. But the devil of this case is in the details, because in technical terms the minister has not breached that new law at all. The EC wants the Constitutional Court to decide, but in this case, no court decision will satisfy everyone.

The terms of the case are so simple that it is easy to wonder why the EC even decided against the foreign minister. The new constitution, Section 187, states clearly that neither a minister nor a minister's spouse can control shares or even be employed by an asset-management company. They may either or both own shares, but only if they inform the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and turn control of the shares to a blind trust or an equivalent. Mr Don's wife Narirat owns more than 5% of a private company, which has not been named publicly.

Those all are facts, but there's more. The constitution, promulgated in April, 2017, states that an incoming minister must inform the NACC of such stock holdings within 30 days of beginning the job. Mr Don, officially became Minister of Foreign Affairs on Aug 23, 2015. It was therefore impossible for him to follow a law that would not even come into force for nearly two years.

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