>Opposition seeks impeachment of PM, minister

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej walks through parliament house in Bangkok, Thailand on June 27, 2008. Thailand’s Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama has resigned in a bid to defuse political tension as a raft of court cases and street protests batter the country’s 5-month-old government of Prime Minister Samak. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of opposition Democrat Party, said Wednesday his party plans to seek impeachment proceedings against Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and Chusak Sirinil, Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mr Abhisit said the chairman of the opposition whips and legal experts from the Democrat Party had been assigned to study the details on filing impeachment proceedings against the duo.

The plan came just one day after he had said his party would seek impeachment of Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama after the Constitution Court ruled that the minister violated the constitution by signing a joint statement with Cambodia on Preah Vihear temple without prior parliamentary endorsement.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee, now meeting in annual session in Quebec City, Canada, on Monday approved Cambodia’s application to list the 11th century temple as a World Heritage site.

Thai law only allows impeachment proceedings to be lodged against individual ministers, not the entire cabinet. And the initial documents must explain clearly how an impeached minister has violated the constitution, explained Mr. Abhisit.

Mr Chusak has been placed on the list because he oversees law for the five-month-old government.

When asked whether Thailand’s political impasse would ease if Mr. Samak chooses to dissolve the House of Representatives and call for a general election, Mr Abhisit said it is one of the alternatives specified in the constitution.

He said if Mr Samak dissolves the House, he must have enough reasons for doing so.

Urging the government to more quickly find ways to prevent a Cambodian encroachment on Thai sovereignty after UNESCO approved registering the temple as a World Heritage Site, Mr Abhisit said “no one in the (Thai) government is doing anything presently.” (TNA)

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