Snoh warns of protests over row on Jaruvan

Published on June 01, 2005

Thai Rak Thai Party chief adviser Snoh Thienthong yesterday said ordinary people might take to the streets in protest over the nomination of a new auditor-general.

Snoh said if Senate Speaker Suchon Chaleekrua forwarded the nomination of Visut Montriwat for royal command, the public could see the move as pressuring His Majesty the King to approve it, thus affronting His Majestyís power.

Snoh said incumbent Auditor-General Khunying Jaruvan Maintaka had been appointed by royal command and could not be removed, even by a ruling of the Constitution Court.

The court has ruled that the nomination process, which led to Jaruvanís appointment, was unconstitutional. Following the ruling, the Audit Commission nominated Visut and the Senate endorsed that nomination. But Jaruvan is staying put, saying she was appointed by royal command and has done nothing wrong.

ďThe people will come out into the streets. If the nomination is forwarded, it would be like pressuring [His Majesty]. I donít believe the people will allow that to happen,Ē said Snoh.

Snoh earlier reportedly infuriated Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Thai Rak Thaiís leader, by gathering signatures from his Wang Nam Yen faction to submit a petition to Suchon to put Visutís nomination on hold.

Suchon last week said he would suspend the nomination for at least two weeks and wait for the dust to settle to gauge public sentiment.

But some legal experts, including former Senate speaker Meechai Ruchuphan, said Suchon had no choice but to forward Visutís nomination for royal command, because the Senate had endorsed the nomination.

Snoh made his statements after a group of employees from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand met with him to express their support for his opposition to Visutís nomination.

ďI believe Thai people will feel the same. They will take to streets if [His Majestyís power] is violated. I am simply trying to protect the monarchís power,Ē Snoh said.

But during a Senate meeting yesterday, several senators suggested Jaruvan step down and contest a position on the vacant National Counter Corruption Commission. Nakhon Sawan Senator Prasit Pithoonkijja said Jaruvan could use her auditing skills in the capacity of NCCC chairman if she won the position.

Learning of the senatorsí suggestion, Jaruvan said would wait for the controversy about the auditor-generalís post to settle first before making any decision.

Kesinee Jaikawang,

Prapasri Osathanon

The Nation

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