Jaruvan debate pencilled in for Monday
Published on September 27, 2005 - The Senate has tentatively scheduled Monday to debate the job status of Auditor-General Khunying Jaruvan Maintaka after preliminary deliberations failed to resolve the issue yesterday.
For six hours high-ranking senators floated ideas on how to solve the deadlock over the Jaruvan controversy, but a consensus could not be reached.
At the end of yesterday’s session, Senator Kaewsan Atibhodi was tasked with filing a motion later this week framing pertinent questions designed to guide senators towards a conclusion.
In convening the session, Senate Speaker Suchon Chaleekrua formally notified the Senate that Visut Montriwat had last week asked for his name to be withdrawn from the running for auditor-general.
Suchon said he had informed the Board of Audit Commissioners about Visut’s decision, adding that the impasse stemming from Visut’s nomination was the sole responsibility of the board.
A number of senators, including Kaewsan and Wallop Tangkananurak, disagreed and successfully asked him to open the floor for discussion on whether to debate the matter.
Senator Thaworn Kiatchaikan said the matter was of grave importance and the Senate should not shrug its responsibility.
Key senators remained split on whether the ruling against the Jaruvan nomination process could be interpreted to cover her job status as well.
Senator Seri Suwanpanont said he resigned as a senatorial coordinator over his failure to reconcile differing opinions on the matter.
Senator Chirmsak Pinthong said he suspected there was an attempt to prolong the debate in order to prevent the reinstatement of Jaruvan, who is scheduled to complete her term next December.
Three ways out
Three solutions to the attorney-general stalemate have been proposed.
The first option is to stick to the Constitution Court’s finding in July last year that Jaruvan be removed from office on the grounds that the selection process leading to her appointment was illegal. This would mean restarting the selection process to nominate a new auditor-general.
The panel could allow Jaruvan to resume her work if it decides that the court did not rule clearly that she was ineligible to stay in her post. Jaruvan served as auditor-general for more than two years under royal command before the court issued its verdict. Therefore, the process to nominate a new auditor-general could begin only after Jaruvan completes her five-year term.
The last option is to leave the post vacant until the end of next year, when Jaruvan’s term expires. This option would ensure that the office’s operations are not disrupted.