Anti-graft panel pick draws flak

Anti-graft panel pick draws flak

Senators stay safe distance from each other during the first Upper House session after parliament reconvened on May 25. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Senators stay safe distance from each other during the first Upper House session after parliament reconvened on May 25. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai plans to petition the Constitutional Court to rule whether Suchart Trakulkasemsuk is eligible to become a new member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), amid criticism of the appointment.

Mr Pornpetch said on Monday he was looking into the possibility of seeking a Constitutional Court judgment on this matter and had resolved to delay submitting the appointment for royal approval.

The appointment was decided on by the NACC committee tasked with selecting a new member and later approved by the Upper House.

Critics say Mr Suchart isn’t eligible as he hasn’t left at least 10 years between the day he stopped serving as a member of the now-defunct National Legislative Assembly (NLA) as required under Section 203 of the constitution.

Mr Pornpetch said the Senate lacked any authority to contest the decision by the NACC’s selection committee.

However, since there have been arguments over the appointment, the best he can do is delay submitting it for royal approval while waiting for an explanation from the NACC, he said.

In related news, the Thai Liberal Party on Monday petitioned the Office of the Ombudsman to seek the Constitutional Court’s interpretation of whether 90 senators who were former NLA members are actually eligible for their posts.

Pitiphong Temcharoen, spokesman for the party, said Section 108 of the charter prohibits former MPs and senators from becoming new senators unless they have left at least five years between their old jobs and the new ones.

Mr Pornpetch was named among these 90 senators, said a source.

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Blast from the past

The State Railway of Thailand launches a special historic steam ride from Bangkok to Chachoengsao in celebration of Father's Day on Dec 5. Photos | Varuth Hirunyatheb