Thai Democrats launch no-confidence motion against PM and ministers in parliament
www.chinaview.cn 2008-06-18 12:18:39   Print

  BANGKOK, June 18 (Xinhua) -- The Democrat Party, Thailand's only opposition party in the House, on Wednesday filed a motion ofno-confidence against Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and other seven cabinet ministers in the parliament, designing to bring down the six-party coalition government led by Samak's People Power Party (PPP).

    The Democrat Party's censure motion, submitted to Deputy House Speaker Somsak Kiartsuranan on Wednesday morning in the parliament, aims to prompt government as well as opposition Parliament Members(MPs) to cast no-confidence votes against Samak and the seven other ministers after a marathon censure debate, expected to take place by June 28 or by the end of the current extraordinary House session.

    Opposition party spokesman Ong-art Khlampaibul said the seven cabinet portfolio bearers targeted alongside the premier included Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan, Transport Minister Santi Prompat, Deputy transport Minister Songsak Thongsri, Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung.

    All the seven ministers are members of the ruling PPP.

    The Democrats state their belief that the Samak government is a weak, ineffective and corrupt stand-in for the deposed government of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the state-run Thai News Agency said.

    The opposition charges stated that the Samak cabinet members had vested personal and partisan interests which were inappropriately entangled with those of the country and people, and that Samak had allowed members of his cabinet to run the country in an aimless, random fashion resulting in failed government policies.

    The prime minister, concurrently head of the ruling People Power Party, will be grilled during the censure debate on grounds that he allegedly had run the country without visible leadership. The Democrat charges that the prime minister had "obviously" sought to serve hidden interests of a once-powerful person and endorsed constitutional amendment bids "only to return favors to a particular, hidden supporter" who stood behind Mr. Samak's political aims, rather than the prime minister himself.

    The Democrats apparently referred to Samak's predecessor Thaksin, who was ousted during the military coup in 2006, stating that Samak chose persons of poor judgment, incompetence and lack of expertise as members of his cabinet to run varied portfolios of government.

    After the submit, Interior Minister Chalerm said he admires the Democrat Party for fighting through parliamentary channel. He also said he is not worried about the censure debate, adding that it is Samak's decision whether to allow the debate.

    Earlier, House Speaker Chai Chidchob said he is awaiting the request for the censure motion against the coalition government bythe Democrat Party and the debate could be held late June.

    Stressing that he is acting with neutrality, Chai said that theattacks by members of the Democrat Party that he is siding with the government are not true.

    He emphasized that it would take "not more than three days" for House officials to verify the requests for censure motions after the petition is lodged by the chief opposition whip. The motion will then be forwarded to the government after which it can be puton the agenda of the parliament's current extraordinary session.

    Chai said the House is now holding its extraordinary session, debating on the government's budget bill for fiscal 2009. He said the censure debate must be held after the budget bill passes parliamentary scrutiny.

    Also on Wednesday morning, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a protest alliance born amid attempts to bring down the former government of Thaksin, staged a mass protest in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attacked its minister NoppadonPattama.

    The civil anti-government group, currently demonstrating in front of the United Nation's regional headquarters in Bangkok, promises to carry its revised campaign against the government.

    The Democrats' latest move against the Samak government emerged after the premier had earlier rejected the desperate call for him to endorse an earlier-sought general debate. Samak earlier explained that floor debate on the budget bill would likely be such a time-consuming session that there would be no time left for subsequent debate.

Editor: An Lu
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