Senate Speaker indifferent to opposition move to expel him

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BANGKOK, Sept 7 – Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich shrugged off an attempt by the opposition Democrat Party to expel him and insisted that he has performed his parliamentary duty without bias.

He was responding to a move by Democrat MPs to unseat him from the senate’s top position for abruptly calling off a parliamentary debate on the charter amendment while several MPs were awaiting their turn to take the floor.

Mr Nikom said he had strictly followed the Constitution and Parliament’s regulations when he chaired the joint Lower House and Upper House debate on revision of the Constitution.

A group of 141 Democrat MPs, led by Democrat chief whip Jurin Laksanawisit, submitted a letter to Anant Ariyachaipanich,  deputy senate speaker yesterday, charging Mr Nikom with cutting short the debate and preventing opposition MPs to exercise their right – a breach of Section 122 of the Constitution.

Mr Nikom said he had instructed the Parliament’s officials to follow the procedure and forward the opposition’s allegation to the Anti-Corruption Commission in 30 days if there were grounds to the charge against him.

Mr Jurin said the abrupt closure of the session without allowing Democrat MPs to take their turn in the debate reflected an attempt to gag the opposition.