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58 senators endorsed; not to attend meet

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday endorsed 58 winners of the March 30 Senate poll against whom no complaints were filed, but they are too few in number to permit their participation in an upcoming meeting of the Senate.

Among the new senators is Arporn Sarakham, the wife of the Udon Thani red-shirt leader. The Bangkok winner, Jaruvan Maintaka, is among the 19 facing opposition, however.

Senate secretary-general Norarut Pimsen said until 95 per cent of all 150 senators are endorsed, the former elected senators would have to join the meeting set for April 18.

The meeting is scheduled to take up the impeachment of former Senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanij, who was an elected senator.

Late last month Nikom was indicted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for his alleged role in the aborted effort to amend the charter.

However, the Council of State submitted an urgent letter to the Cabinet questioning whether the meeting should take place as scheduled due to several concerns.

The government's legal advisory arm cited the absence of the Parliament president and deputy, who are the House and Senate speakers.

It questioned whether Nikom's impeachment should be considered an urgent action that must be conducted within 20 days as required by the law without any exception. It warned that letting caretaker senators vote after their successors have been elected could cause complications.

EC secretary general Puchong Nutrawong said that of the 46 complaints the EC had received, 44 were about candidates and two about the election process.

The full list of endorsed senators has been posted at www.nationmultimedia.com.

Meanwhile, EC and representatives of military leaders met to talk about how to hold the next election, after the Constitutional Court annulled the February 2 election.

Speaking after the meeting, Puchong said both sides agreed it would not be possible to hold an election within 45-60 days after the revocation of the February poll, as requested by the political parties.

This is because an election would not be possible in the current political environment, without seeing a repeat of the problems that led to the poll's nullification, he said.


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