Thai senators 'considering appointing new premier'

Thai senators 'considering appointing new premier'
Surachai Liengboonlertchai.

Senators are considering the appointment of a new prime minister with full authority to run the country, in a bid to find a way out of the political impasse, sources in the upper House said yesterday.

The appointment would be made with reference to the Constitution and the Senate would give reasons explaining the need for its actions, according to the sources.

However, there are some legal problems and obstacles, as the caretaker government has not sought an extraordinary session for the Senate to discuss the matter, the sources said.

The senatorial working group responsible for this matter has assigned acting Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai to find a solution to the legal problems.

Surachai yesterday said, "I have done homework on the problematic issue. But I will not talk about this in detail. This is a sensitive matter."

At their meeting on Tuesday, some senators expressed hope that following imposition of martial law, the military would help the Senate pressure the remaining Cabinet members to resign and pave the way for appointment of a new prime minister, according to the sources.

A senator even suggested soldiers should force the Cabinet members at gunpoint to resign, something that was done by coup-makers. However, this proposal was opposed by many other senators who did not want to see the military's involvement in the appointment of a new PM.

Senator Dej-udom Krairit said he expected a Constitutional Court verdict in a case filed recently by Senator Paiboon Nititawan asking the court to rule whether the remaining Cabinet members could still remain in power.

He expected that verdict in two weeks. "But if we can't wait, I believe Surachai has a way. He has met many people, both in secret and in the open," he said.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party's legal expert Ruangkrai Leekitwattana said he would today petition the Constitutional Court to rule whether it is constitutional for Surachai and other senators to attempt to appoint a new prime minister to set up a new government

In a related development, the Election Commission will ask the Council of State whether the acting prime minister has the legal power to jointly schedule the next election with the EC, according to Metha Silaphan, a senior EC official. He expected the EC secretary-general to write the Council of State today about this matter.

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