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Minister slammed for proposal to seek royal judgement if PM is disqualified

The idea to seek a royal judgement in case of a political vacuum, proposed by the caretaker justice minister, has been slammed by both ruling and opposition politicians.

Reacting to the comment by Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri, the ruling Pheu Thai Party's spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the party insisted that the Election Commission must hold an election to find the next government.

Pheu Thai legal expert Phiraphan Phalusuk said the party would discuss Chaikasem's proposal after Songkran.

Meanwhile, Democrat legal expert Wiratana Kalayasiri said Chaikasem was improperly trying to drag His Majesty the King into politics.

Chaikasem, a former attorney-general, had told the media that if the Constitutional Court rules to disqualify Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for allegedly illegally transferring National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri, he might propose seeking a royal judgement from His Majesty the King on what to do. He said the law requires that the outgoing government continue as caretaker until a new government is formed. However, it would be problematic if Yingluck were to be disqualified and forced out of the caretaker's post.

Chaikasem said it was only his personal idea, and he had not consulted the government or Pheu Thai Party. He said the proposal would be different from that of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which seeks a non-elected PM.

Article 7 of the Constitution says that in case there is no applicable law cited in the charter, the decision should be taken according to tradition under the Constitutional monarchy.

Wiratana said the procedure according to the PDRC's proposal would be the submission of a resolution for royal endorsement by the authorised constitutional organisation or person, not seeking a royal decision.

"Normally, the person to nominate a PM's name for royal endorsement is the House Speaker, but when there is no House, a Senate Speaker should be able to do the job," he said.

Wiratana said that if the Constitutional Court disqualifies Yingluck, she and her government would have to resign and would have no authority to do anything.

The Constitutional Court earlier accepted to rule over Yingluck's qualification after a Supreme Administrative Court ruling last month that Yingluck's order to transfer Thawil was unlawful. Yingluck was given 15 days to submit her defence. While the deadline is on Friday, the court has not set a date for the ruling.


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