Thai senator threatens to sue acting PM

Acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.

Senator Paiboon Nititawan yesterday threatened to take legal action against acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan if he insisted on scheduling the election date with the Election Commission (EC), as he did not have the authority.

Paiboon cited a Constitutional Court ruling earlier, barring charter court chairman Charoon Intachan from joining a selection committee to nominate Election Commission members because he had not yet been royally endorsed.

The senator also said that Article 5 on a Royal Decree to schedule an election date clearly authorised the prime minister and the EC chairman with the responsibility, which Niwattumrong could not discharge because he did not have the authority, as he is not the PM.

EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said at the next meeting with the government, the EC wanted to resolve two issues: whether the acting PM has the right to countersign the Royal Decree on scheduling the election date, and whether the EC has the authority to inform the PM to postpone the election in certain eventualities.

The agency also wants to know if security agencies are ready to provide safety to voters to ensure that the next election will not become another wasteful exercise.

He said it would be impossible to schedule the election on July 20 because there was not enough time to seek a Royal Decree on scheduling the election date. He also voiced concerns that anti-government protesters would disrupt the meeting between the EC and the government again.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the EC must hold a video-conference within next week to schedule the election date or it may face complaints for dereliction of duty.