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Chavarat wants to talk with PM

Posted by arnon_k On October - 19 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul said on Monday he wants to talk with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to improve understanding between them.

Mr Chavarat’s remark came after Mr Abhisit said on Sunday any party which felt uncomfortable being in the coalition was free to tell him so, and they could leave.

Mr Abhisit did not specifically name any of the parties in the coaltion, but it was believed his remark was directed at Bhumjaithai, which has been on the end of corruption allegations.

Mr Chavarat, who is interior minister in the coaltion government, said he hioped to talk with Mr Abhisit to clear up matters which might have caused misunderstandings.

He said corruption allegations involving the Interior Ministry were not supported by evidence.

There were no problems with the position of permanent secretary for interior although Provincial Administration Department director-general Mongkol Surasajja announced he would not accept the job, in the wake of alleged corruption in a computer leasing project.

Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, the acting permanent secretary for interior, and Vichien Chavalit, director-general of the Community Development Department, were now potential candidates for the position, Mr Chavarat said.

House Speaker Chai Chidchob downplayed the matter, saying the prime minister might have made a slip of the tongue.

Mr Chai, a Bhumjaithai member, said forming a government is not an easy task. In a coalition government, it was normal for parties to have disagreements.

He believed senior figures of both the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties were still on good terms.

“Nobody felt uneasy being in the coalition. Bhumjaithai is 10,000 per cent with the government. However, it all depends on the destiny of the country and Bhumjaithai. The prime minister has the power to drop a party from the coalition,” Mr Chai said.

Aide: Chavalit not leaving Puea Thai

Posted by arnon_k On October - 19 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh has no intention of resigning as chairman of the Puea Thai Party as rumoured, Lt-Gen Pirat Sawamipak said on Monday.

Lt-Gen Pirat, a retired army officer and close aide of Gen Chavalit, said the rumour was intended to divide the party’s members, particularly the retired military officers.

The rumour had it that Gen Chavalit was not satisfied with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for failing to heed his advice to keep a low profile and show loyalty to the monarchy.

Gen Chavalit led a number of retired military officers into joining Puea Thai to show the party’s loyalty to the high institution.

“There is no such a problem, although Thaksin is now quite active. Gen Chavalit has warned him to keep a low profile, otherwise it would be difficult for him to help,” Lt-Gen Pirat said.

Charter court official Pasit sacked

Posted by arnon_k On October - 18 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Pasit Sakdanarong has been dismissed as secretary to Constitution Court president Udomsak Nitimontree after the Puea Thai Party released a video on Sunday which could damage the court’s reputation.

The dismissal, effective from Monday, was announced by Mr Udomsak, who was accompanied by four other court judges. He said none of the judges had anything at all do with the scandal.

The footage released by Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit at a news conference showed Democrat Party MP Wirat Romyen allegedly attempting to influence the court to call particular witnesses in the case in which the Democrat Party is accused of misusing a 29 million baht political party development fund in 2005.

If found guilty, the Democrat Party could be dissolved and many of its executives banned from politics for five years., including the prime minister

Mr Udomsak asked the government and agencies concerned to make fact-finding investigation into this matter.

The Constitution Court has also set up its own investigation committee.

Mr Udomsak said the court is impartial and nobody can interfere in its work.

PM under pressure to sack minister over probe

Posted by arnon_k On October - 18 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

SENIOR OFFICIAL SACRIFICES PROMOTION

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to remove Chavarat Charnvirakul as interior minister _ a move which could disintegrate the Democrat-led administration.

Mr Chavarat, also official leader of the coalition Bhumjaithai Party, has been linked to fraud in a 3.49 billion baht computer leasing scheme of the Provincial Administration Department in a Department of Special Investigation (DSI) inquiry.

The DSI’s findings will be considered by the National Anti-Corruption Commission next week.

Mr Abhisit walked away from reporters when he was asked yesterday how he will take action against Mr Chavarat over the case.

Bhumjaithai de facto leader Newin Chidchob is upset by the DSI’s report and questions the Democrat Party’s motives in trying to speed the inquiry.

If Mr Chavarat is sacked, Bhumjaithai may leave the coalition in protest.

Some observers believe that in the event of a Bhumjaithai walkout, the Democrats will be forced to turn to the “Three Ps” faction of the Puea Pandin Party to shore up its majority.

Seizing its chance, the faction is stepping up pressure on Mr Abhisit to sack Mr Chavarat.

MP Phumin Leekijthiraprasert, attached to the “Three Ps” faction, said the prime minister should take action.

The outcome of the DSI’s graft inquiry into the computer scheme was grounds enough, he said.

The DSI has implicated four senior interior officials including the department’s director-general Mongkol Surasajja, who was backed by Mr Chavarat as new interior permanent secretary, in the alleged irregularities.

“It reflects the minister’s negligence of duty and the minister should be removed to maintain the government’s image,” said Mr Phumin.

“There is no need to wait for the final outcome,” he said, citing Mr Abhisit’s aim, declared when he took office, to ensure clean government.

In a move widely seen as a bid to take pressure off Mr Chavarat, Mr Mongkol yesterday announced that he will not accept the post of permanent secretary.

“I’ve told the interior minister that I have declined the promotion. As a subordinate, if I consider myself unfit for the job, I shouldn’t take it,” he said.

He will hold talks with the contractor Control Data Co about revoking the computer leasing contract.

Mr Abhisit said yesterday that Mr Mongkol’s decision not to take the job has nothing to do with the investigation into alleged graft in the computer leasing scheme. “The inquiry will continue. The two issues are separate,” he said.

Mr Mongkol’s move suggests the Democrat Party and the Bhumjaithai Party are not ready for a break-up and have reached a compromise.

Mr Mongkol’s sacrifice and the cancellation of the deal with the contractor are expected to take the heat off while they are figuring out how to clear Mr Chavarat’s name, said a source.

Democrat leaders are reluctant to bring in the “Three Ps” faction headed by veteran politicians Phinij Jarusombat, Preecha Laohapongchana and Pairote Suwanchawee.

Mr Mongkol insisted he was not under pressure to give up the job.

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