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Pattaya Daily News

09 September 2008 :: 18:09:11 pm 42615

Thai Court Rules Pm Violated Charter, Must Leave Office

BANGKOK, Sept 9-Thailand's Constitution Court ruled on Tuesday that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej must step down after he violated the country?s supreme law by accepting payments for hosting TV cooking programmes while in office.
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Shortly after the court justices announced their unanimously 9-0 ‘guilty’ ruling, all sitting members of parliament of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) agreed unanimously to nominate Mr. Samak to the premiership in the upcoming session of parliament, according to Kuthep Saikrachang, party spokesman.

Whip Witthaya Buranasiri, a PPP member, said earlier his party was ready to accept the court ruling whether or not Mr. Samak was guilty on hosting two cooking programmes on two free TV stations.

The case was brought against him by a group of senators and Election Commission members in the belief that Mr. Samak had violated Article 267 of the 2007 charter. Article 267 of the Constitution stipulates that the prime minister is prohibited from holding any position in a partnership, a company or an organisation carrying out business with an intention to sharing profit or income, or being an employee of any person.

Mr. Samak defended himself in the court on Monday that he appeared in the programmes only on a freelance basis, without seeking any remuneration.

Mr. Samak could return as prime minister if the five other parties in the coalition government nominate him because he still retains his membership in the House of Representatives and also as leader of PPP, Mr. Witthaya said.

“Executive members of the PPP will discuss with leaders of coalition partners to support Mr. Samak to remain as prime minister, although some have proposed that Chart Thai party leader Banharn Silpa-archa assume the post,” said Mr. Witthaya.

Mr. Banharn is a former prime minister.

The court ruling came amid a number of mounting pressures for the prime minister to resign as anti-government protesters led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have occupied Thailand’s Government House since August 26.

The coalition of self-described democracy-activist protesters vowed not to disperse until the premier calls it quits.

Mr. Samak was accused by the demonstrators of being a proxy of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who fled corruption charges to live in Britain with his wife and family. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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