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January 5, 2009

Thailand Politics:
Opposition charges govt of violating charter

Thailand's opposition Puea Thai Party will on Monday file charges calling for an annulment of the delivery of the government's policy statement last week which it claimed violated the constitution as well as stripping the Parliament president, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his entire cabinet of their offices, reported state news agency TNA.

A spokesman of the Puea Thai Party said the party would submit a letter to the Administrative Court asking it to annul the December 30 urgent meeting in which Mr. Abhisit delivered the coalition government's policy statement to Parliament meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs instead of at Parliament.

Claiming that the change of venue violated the Constitution and did not allow the Opposition to debate the government's policy, the spokesman said the Cabinet afterward appointed several persons to hold political positions during its meeting held later the same day.

Delivery of the government's policy statement normally takes place at Parliament, but the recently-appointed coalition government of Prime Minister Abhisit was forced to change the venue to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for safety reasons as thousands of anti-government protesters of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) blocked the gates of Parliament on December 30.

Pol. Lt-Col. Somchai Phaetprasert, a Puea Thai party member and MP representing the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, said he would collect signatures of one-fourth of the House of Representatives members to submit to the National Counter Corruption Commission through the Senate Speaker to strip Parliament President Chai Chidchob, Premier Abhisit and his entire cabinet ministers of their positions because, he alleged, they have violated the Constitution.

The Puea Thai MP said he would also submit a complaint to the House military affairs committee and to Defence Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan urging him to probe on both army and air force chiefs, alleging that they violated military regulations by criticising political affairs in the country.

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