Democrat proceeding with impeachment of Surapong

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BANGKOK, 19 August 2011 – The opposition Democrat Party is collecting names of MPs in an attempt to impeach Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul for requesting Japan to issue an entry visa for ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. 

Head of the Democrat Party’s legal team Wirat Kalayasiri revealed that the party was currently in the process of gathering names of MPs, which would be submitted to the Senate Speaker during 22-23 August for consideration whether to remove Mr Surapong from the Foreign Minister post. The opposition party is required to obtain signatures of at least one quarter of the 500-seat Parliament, or 125 MPs, in order to have enough power to impeach the Minister.

Mr Surapong has allegedly breached Section 176 of the Constitution by extending help for Mr Thaksin, who is under arrest warrant for corruption charges. Based on the Japanese government’s claim, its issuance of a special entry visa to Japan for the ex-premier was made upon the Minister’s request.

Mr Wirat shrugged off threats by Deputy Prime Minister Police Captain Chalerm Yubamrung and Mr Thaksin’s legal advisor Noppadon Pattama that a countersuit would be lodged against the Democrat Party for false accusation. He said the party had no fear as it was only doing its part as the opposition. He also insisted that Mr Thaksin was free to travel anywhere in the world; however, his upcoming visit to Japan was a different story as government officials came to his assistance.