Senate wins interim PM bid backing

Senate wins interim PM bid backing

Senior bureaucrats and military officers appear to have endorsed Senate efforts to appoint an interim prime minister, according to a senator.

Apichart Damdee, an elected representative for Krabi, said a meeting on Thursday between senators, top government officials and military figures had reached common ground on the Senate's role and authority in the political impasse.

He said the participants agreed that sections 132 (2), 171 and 172 of the constitution can be applied if an interim prime minister and government are deemed necessary.

Section 132 (2) allows the Senate to hold a meeting after a House dissolution to make necessary job appointments.

Sections 171 and 172 deal with the appointment of a prime minister and cabinet by the House of Representatives.

Mr Apichart said Section 7 would have to be invoked to allow the appointment of an interim government.

Section 7 is an open-ended measure to deal with a problem which is not covered by any other provisions in the charter.

However, Mr Apichart said the result of the meeting was not conclusive and the plan still had to be discussed at a Senate session.

He said the meeting wanted to see a government that has the full authority to tackle the problems plaguing the country, but stressed that the process of installing that government must be acceptable to all sides.

The meeting was attended by representatives of 17 government agencies and included army chief of staff Aksa Kerdpol, navy chief of staff Thaweewut Pongpipat, and air force chief of staff Tritos Sonjaeng.

According to Mr Apichart, the key point taken out of the meeting was that an interim government should be responsible for planning a long-term reform process and tackling immediate problems.

A new election will be called shortly afterwards and the newly elected government would be in charge of carrying out the long-term reforms, he said.

The meeting was part of acting Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlertchai's efforts to bring an end to the political conflict.

Appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn said the Senate expects to come up with a solution today.

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