Govt relents on Senate selectors

Govt relents on Senate selectors

Six ended up taking seats themselves

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Wednesday bowed to political pressure and revealed the names of 10 members of the Senate selection panel of whom six were eventually appointed senators.

The move came after seven parties in the anti-regime alliance led by the Pheu Thai Party on Monday submitted a petition to the NCPO which was constitutionally responsible for appointing the 250 senators.

They said they wanted the junta to disclose who appointed the 250 senators after the selection process was criticised for being plagued with nepotism. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the committee was originally made up of 10 members, but former National Legislative Assembly president, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, a member, later quit. Mr Pornpetch is now the Senate speaker.

Besides Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and Mr Wissanu, the seven others were ACM Prajin Juntong, former deputy prime minister, Somkid Jatusripitak, deputy prime minister, Gen Chatchai Sarikulya, former deputy prime minister, Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, former deputy chief of NCPO, Adm Narong Pipatanasai, former deputy chief of NCPO, Gen Anupong Paojinda, NCPO member and interior minister, and Pol Gen Adul Sangsingkeo, former deputy chief of NCPO and labour minister.

As for the six members of the panel appointed senators, Mr Wissanu said they did not nominate themselves. When the panel considered their qualifications, they were not allowed to stay in the meeting room. The six were ACM Prajin, Gen Chatchai, Gen Tanasak, Adm Narong, Pol Gen Adul and Mr Pornpetch.

Mr Wissanu claimed the names of the committee members were kept secret in the first place to prevent lobbying. He also said two lists of reserve senators, with 50 names each, were published in the Royal Gazette as is constitutionally required and they would be called upon to serve in the Upper House if "vacancies arise".

"The lists are not interchangeable. Those who are called to fill vacant seats must meet the legal requirements," he said.

Of the 250 senators, 50 were selected from a shortlist of 200 candidates chosen in an intra-group process by various social groups and professions. Another 194 were chosen by the NCPO, and six slots were reserved for the three armed forces leaders, the supreme commander, the defence permanent secretary and the national police chief.

Earlier, Pheu Thai on Wednesday asked the House to determine whether there was a conflict of interest in the selection process.

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