Nikom kicks off with Suthep impeachment

Nikom kicks off with Suthep impeachment

New Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatchapanich will begin his tenure as leader of the Upper House by putting the impeachment case of Democrat MP for Surat Thani Suthep Thaugsuban on the senate meeting agenda on Monday.

Nikom: Pledges to make senate neutral

Mr Nikom, who was elected the new senate speaker on Aug 14, said the senate would begin proceedings on the impeachment of Mr Suthep on Monday.

Mr Nikom was speaking at a ceremony to receive a royal command appointing him as the new speaker.

The Chachoengsao senator shrugged off speculation that Mr Suthep might be unfairly impeached, saying he would perform his duties as speaker with neutrality.

Mr Suthep was recently found by the National Anti-Corruption Commission to have interfered with the Culture Ministry by sending Democrat MPs to work there when he was deputy prime minister under the Abhisit Vejjajiva government.

If he is impeached he will also be banned from participating in politics for five years.

Mr Nikom promised he would make the Upper House a neutral body, strictly abide by the rule of law, not bow to public sentiment or pressure and strengthen all senate panels.

He said the senate would from now on meet twice a week as he would add Tuesday as another meeting day for the senate in order to speed up the passage of bills.

Previously, senate meetings were held only once a week on Monday.

Meanwhile, Senator Niran Pitakwatchara, chairman of the Senate sub-panel on human rights, urged the government to secure the release of Veera Somkwamkid.

Veera, the coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon have been imprisoned in Cambodia since Dec 2010, charged with illegal entry and espionage.

Dr Niran also asked the senate to submit a letter to Cambodia asking for the return of the two activists.

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