09 September 2008

(‘cooking while grumbling’)

Democracy Monument

The Constitutional Court announced today that Samak Sundaravej’s term as PM must end, effective immediately. The court ruled that he had violated the constitution by hosting a cookery show, ชิมไปบ่นไป (‘tasting while grumbling’), on TV earlier this year. The constitution forbids a serving prime minister from receiving private income; it also stipulates that the entire cabinet must resign following the PM’s disqualification. The dismissal of the PM and the cabinet follows the dissolution of Thai Rak Thai last year.

Samak had been under pressure to resign for over a week, following the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s continued occupation of Government House. However, he had repeatedly refused to step down, arguing that an elected PM should not give in to mob rule. The Election Commission of Thailand voted unanimously to recommend the dissolution of the People Power Party last week. Their decision was based on the Supreme Court’s conviction of PPP deputy leader Yongyuth Tiyaphairat, following the ECT’s investigation into vote-buying during the 2007 general election. Yongyuth was found guilty of vote-buying by the ECT in May, though they had initially endorsed him, in a rush to approve sufficient MPs to enable the parliamentary session to begin.

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