Deputy Senate speaker reiterates call for parliamentary session
April 18, 2014 00:00
By Khanittha Thepphajorn
Deputy Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboon-lertchai yesterday again called on the government to issue a Royal Decree opening an extraordinary session for Parliament to act on an impeachment motion.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission has indicted former Senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanij for his allegedly unlawful role in handling the passage of a charter-amendment bill on the Senate’s composition.
Surachai said the Constitution required the Senate to take up the request of the NACC for an impeachment within 20 days, and the deadline is tomorrow. Since the Senate cannot meet the deadline, the government should enact a Royal Decree to open the parliamentary session next Thursday or no later than April 30 so that the Senate can fulfil its responsibilities, he said.
Also on the agenda for the Senate session are the appointments of an NACC member to replace retired Jaided Pornchaiya and Administrative Court specialists. The Senate had asked the Cabinet to proceed with opening the special session today, but the government replied that it could not call a meeting for the time being for several reasons. There was no Parliament president and impeachment proceedings were also insufficient grounds.
Reacting to the government’s claim that the Parliament president must be the person in charge of the Royal Decree in case a Senate meeting is held while the House is in recess, Surachai said there is no House of Representatives at the moment, so that argument was specious. The House Speaker also serves as Parliament president, while the Senate Speaker acts as deputy Parliament president.
The government should consult with the Senate on the issue rather than bother the court, he said.
“I would like to implore the prime minister to consider this and approve the request. But if she insists that the session cannot be opened, government agencies will have to seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court,” he said.