Democrat Suthep cleared from allegation, retains MP status


BANGKOK, Sept 18 – Former Thai deputy premier Suthep Thuagsuban was saved from the axe today as the Senate voted 95 to 40 to retain his status as a member of parliament.

Three senators abstained in a secret roll call secret balloting which lasted more than an hour.

Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich said the decision will be formally forwarded to the Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC)—the plaintiff in the case, the Office of Cabinet Secretariat and related government agencies, as well as Mr Suthep himself—the defendant. Mr Suthep is a deputy leader of the opposition Democrat Party.

Mr Nikom said the senate’s resolution was unrelated to a trial by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions.

Mr Suthep was charged with interfering in the Culture Ministry’s authority by sending a letter asking for a group of MP and personnel to work there. His action, according to the ACC, was in violation of Article 273 of the constitution.

The plaintiff and the defendant on Monday gave their final verbal statements in the Senate.