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Yingluck’s fate sealed, says Pheu Thai

Posted by pakin On January - 19 - 2015

Ex-PM’s allies claim NLA urged to impeach

It is clear that former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be impeached when the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) decides her fate on Friday, according to the Pheu Thai Party.

The military and the NLA, meanwhile, have reiterated that lawmakers are free to vote however they see fit and claim there has been no direction from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) or the government on which way to vote.

However, Pheu Thai core member Surapong Tovichakchaikul said NLA members have already made up their minds about the allegations against Ms Yingluck, citing her absence from Friday’s questioning.

Some NLA members, especially those from the Group of 40 Senators, are hostile towards Ms Yingluck and are bent on impeaching her, he said.

Mr Surapong maintained the National Anti Corruption Commission’s (NACC) probe into Ms Yingluck’s role in the rice-pledging scheme has been hasty and its conclusion that her behaviour implies corruption is more of a feeling than a carefully considered conclusion.

Another key Pheu Thai member, red-shirt leader Worachai Hema, said the former prime minister’s fate has already been decided.

He said the impeachment process against Ms Yingluck is part of a campaign to uproot obstacles in the way of the coup-makers and those who want to prolong Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s stay in power.

Ms Yingluck will be banned from politics for five years if she is impeached.

She is unlikely to survive the impeachment vote, Mr Hema said, adding that former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranon and ex-Senate speaker Nikhom Wairatpanich, who both face impeachment proceedings for supporting a charter amendment bid, are likely to be impeached too.

A source close to Pheu Thai’s internal affairs committee said Sunday the NACC and the NLA are in league in the case against Ms Yingluck.

The source warned about possible political unrest in the aftermath, saying the NLA would face tremendous pressure and social division would be rekindled if it rules against the former premier.

Supreme Commander Gen Worapong Sanganet insisted Sunday the NCPO and the government are not pulling strings in the impeachment vote, set for Friday.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Royal Thai Armed Forces Day, Gen Worapong, also a member of the NCPO, said lawmakers, including those close to the military, will decide freely when casting their vote.

The NCPO and government will not interfere with their judgement, he said.

All 220 NLA members were handpicked by the NCPO and more than 100 of them are former and active military officers.

By law, the votes of three-fifths of the 220 NLA members, or 132 members, are needed to impeach Ms Yingluck.

Gen Worapong played down speculation about possible violence breaking out following the NLA rulings, saying he believed the public would accept the decisions and support the government’s efforts to return peace and order.

NLA vice-president Surachai Liangboonlertchai maintained there has been no direction or intervention, as the NLA prepared to cast a secret ballot.

Mr Nikhom and Mr Somsak will deliver closing statements on Wednesday while Ms Yingluck will do so on Thursday.

Ms Yingluck can choose whether or not to address the questions prepared by the NLA’s inquiry committee when making her closing statement, he said.

The questions were made public on Friday, when Ms Yingluck failed to appear before the NLA to answer the 35 questions.

Her lawyers and former ministers who turned up to testify on her behalf were not allowed to answer the questions, as the NLA insisted they were designed for Ms Yingluck alone.

“Ms Yingluck has another chance to answer the questions. I believe the NLA will give them [the NACC and Ms Yingluck] the opportunity before the vote on Friday,” Mr Surachai said.

The NLA would review the situation and decide whether extra security measures would be necessary to make sure that voting would not be disrupted, he said, adding the situation would be kept under control. He called on the public to accept the outcome.

A source in the NLA said that its president, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, has instructed all members to attend the meeting from Wednesday until Friday and told those who are overseas to return by Tuesday.

The ex-premier will appear before the NLA to make her closing statement, said her lawyer, Norawit Lalaeng.

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