Senators give Suchon ultimatum
Published on August 31, 2005 -
The mounting pressure on Senate Speaker Suchon Chaleekrua to clear up the ambiguity over the auditor-general post has led some colleagues to say they would be prepared to take matters into their own hands. “Unless Suchon acts now, many senators are ready to seek a meeting with His Majesty’s principal private secretary, Asa Sarasin,” Winyu Ularnkul said at yesterday’s Senate session.
Suchon has yet to spell out his plan of action after 78 days have passed since he submitted Visut Montriwat’s nomination – with no royal endorsement as yet forthcoming – Winyu said.
The speaker should shoulder his responsibilities instead of letting other senators do his job for him, he added.
Suchon said yesterday he had no new comment to make on the affair and called on his fellow senators to stop pestering him with questions on the possible consequences if Visut’s endorsement fails to materialise.
The Senate in May approved Visut as Jaruvan Maintaka’s successor, despite the uncertainty over whether she had lost her job following last year’s Constitution Court ruling against the nomination process leading to her appointment.
For the past week, Suchon has argued for the status quo while refusing to step down or withdraw Visut’s nomination.
Before entering the Senate chamber, he denied reports that he wanted to wait 90 days before invoking legislative procedures.
Under the charter, Parliament must reconsider any bill that fails to secure royal endorsement within 90 days, either to kill it or resubmit it for another 30 days.
If the legislation still meets royal silence after an additional 30 days, it can then be enacted by Parliament as if having royal approval.
Suchon said these rules did not, however, apply to the appointment for a key position and he had no intent to push for the adaptation of the provisions to suit his purpose.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam came out to call for all sides to back off and let matters take their course.
“If the situation is calm and out of the media spotlight, then it might be possible to remove Visut’s nomination quietly from the royal endorsement process and start sorting out related problems,” he said.
Parties would be “uncomfortable” to make any move if they remained under intense public scrutiny, he said, adding that a proposal for Suchon to seek a royal audience to withdraw Visut’s name would be appropriate only if Visut had died.
Opposition chief whip MP Sathit Wongnongtoey said Suchon and Parliament President Bhokin Bhalakula should draw up a way to remove the uncertainty.
Senator Seree Suwanpanont called on the Board of Audit Commissioners to re-examine its nomination process, which had selected Jaruvan and then Visut. The board should act responsibly to clear up the confusion it had created, and not lock Jaruvan out of her office, which was an immature act serving to fan animosity among the parties, he said.
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