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New Thai premier probed for possible Charter violation


Associated Press
First Posted 14:53:00 09/29/2008

Filed Under: Graft & Corruption, Government, Constitution, Politics, Conflicts (general)

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand's Election Commission opened an investigation Monday into whether new Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat should resign for violating the constitution, less than a month after a similar process ousted his predecessor.

"I have no worries at all," Somchai told reporters, adding that he had done nothing wrong and would defend himself in court if asked to.

The comments came shortly after the Election Commission said it would investigate whether Somchai had violated the constitution by holding shares in Thailand's CS LoxInfo PCL, an Internet service provider that is a contract partner of CAT Telecom, a state-owned telecommunications service provider.

The constitution bars members of parliament from holding shares in companies that do business with state enterprises.

If found guilty, Somchai would be disqualified as a member of parliament and therefore no longer be allowed to serve as prime minister.

Election Commission spokesman Ruangrote Jomsueb said a subcommittee would be appointed to investigate the matter, and if it feels the case should be pursued, will forward its findings to the Constitutional Court. He said subcommittee probes generally take about 30 days.

The complaint was brought by Senator Ruangkrai Leekijwattana, who also filed the complaint before the Election Commission that brought down previous Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Samak was ousted September 9, when the Constitutional Court ruled he had violated the constitution by accepting pay to host TV cooking shows while in office. The ruling came amid a tense political crisis in Thailand, with anti-government protesters occupying the prime minister's office compound calling for Samak's resignation.

A few thousand protesters remain at the Government House, saying they are holding their ground to see if Somchai meets their approval.



Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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