The Nation



Pheu Thai MP suggests amendment of Article 291 to appoint non-MP PM

Pheu Thai MP Samart Kaewmeechai Thursday proposed that Article 291 of the Constitution should be amended so that a non-MP prime minister could be appointed to end the on-going political crisis.

Samart raised the proposal because he saw that the proposal of People's Democratic Reform Committee secretary general Suthep Thaugsuban was impossible and unconstitutional.

Suthep called on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House of Representatives and resign as the caretaker government to create a political vacuum so that Article 7 of the Constitution could be invoked to seek a prime minister from His Majesty the King.

Samart said such a proposal was unconstitutional because the current charter required that the prime minister must be an MP and must be selected in a peer vote by MPs.

Samart said Suthep could not cite the October 14 1973 event as an example of Article 7 invocation because the situations were different.

He noted that if the prime minister dissolves the House, the charter requires a new election to be held within 45 days anyway.

Samart said a possible solution is to amend Article 291 to state that in time of political crisis, a non-MP and nonpartisan prime minister can be appointed.

Samart said after the nonpartisan prime minister solves the political crisis, he can dissolve the House later.

Samart criticized Suthep for citing his massive number of protesters to pressure the government to return the ruling mandate to the people. Samart said Suthep should first ask tens of millions of voters whether they would like to give ruling mandate to Suthep.

Samart also challenged Suthep to form a new political party and sell the reform idea and contest an election to test public support for his idea. If Suthep's party wins the election, he will have the mandate to reform the country the way he proposes, Samart said.

Samart also voiced concern that the on-going situation would lead to a civil war. He said if Suthep's opponents see that police could not handle protesters, they may take the laws into their own hands, leading to a civil war.

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