Thai legislature votes to consider impeaching Nikom, Somsak

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BANGKOK, Nov 7 — Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted secretly yesterday to accept consideration of impeaching former Parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont and his deputy Nikom Wairatpanij for their alleged unlawful advocation of a Constitutional amendment on the composition of the Senate. 

The Assembly voted 87 to 75, with 15 members abstaining.

Before the 2.10pm vote, the Assembly debated more than three hours behind closed doors, considering the impeachment proposal proposed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

The anti-graft panel accused Mr Nikom and Mr Somsak of abusing their authority and violating the 2007 Constitution in a bid to change the composition of the Senate.

Assembly Chair Pornphet Wichitcholchai said the NLA is authorized to act of the case but some legislators disagreed, but that the body had debated the matter extensively before the vote.

Those supporting acceptance of the impeachment  case cited Section 58 of the Organic Law concerning the NACC, while opponents reasoned that the 2007 Constitution had been revoked, Mr Pornphet said.

NLA whip member Jetn Sirathranont said the Assembly scheduled the opening statement of the case for Nov 24 and 25, and a committee would be formed for review that would take 30-45 days.

During the period the accused could present additional documents and witnesses. Afterward the National Legislative Assembly will vote whether to retroactively remove Mr Somsak and Mr Nikhom from their positions, Dr Jetn said.