PM Srettha turns to legal eagle Wissanu for advice

PM Srettha turns to legal eagle Wissanu for advice
PM Srettha turns to legal eagle Wissanu for advice
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, straight, meets past deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea- ngam at the Bangkok Post Forum 2023 in October last month. ( Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill )

Srettha Thavisin, the prime minister, acknowledged on Monday that he had contacted Wissanu Krea-ngam, a former deputy prime minister, for advice on how to handle a situation involving the appointment of a minister with a prison history that might offend cabinet ministers ‘ codes of ethics.

Mr. Srettha claimed to have spoken with Mr. Wissanu at his home and had discussed the situation, but he had not provided any further information.

‘ ‘ I did not ask him through. I visited him at his residence. We had a debate,’ ‘ Mr Srettha said.

When asked if Mr. Wissanu’s counsel had improved his morale before attempting to defend himself in court, the prime minister responded,” I am very comfortable,” adding that he is also preparing a submission that must be submitted to the Constitutional Court within 15 weeks.

According to solutions, Mr Srettha visited Mr Wissanu at his home on Saturday.

Chaithawat Tulathon, the leader of the main opposition Move Forward Party ( MFP), said that if the court rules against Mr Srettha, this could damage the coalition government’s stability and obstruct the implementation of its policies.

The 2025 budget bill, which is pending legislative consideration by the legislature and is vital to government spending, will also be affected, according to Mr. Chaithawat.

If Mr Srettha is removed from office as a result of the judge’s ruling, a new prime minister may be elected by congress, Mr Chaithawat said, adding that the MFP may select Pita Limjaroenrat, the group’s deputy director and prime ministerial member, for the vote in parliament.

‘ ‘ Even though the junta- appointed Senate’s tenure already ended ]on May 10] and the new Senate can no longer co- elect a prime minister, it is unlikely that the MFP will be aligned with Pheu Thai to form a new government. The two parties remain political rivals,’ ‘ Mr Chaithawat said.

The junta- appointed Senate last year succeeded in voting against Mr Pita, then leader of the MFP, and scuttled&nbsp, his chance of becoming prime minister.

The new Senate will have the authority to approve appointments to independent public agencies, in contrast to the NCPO-appointed Senate, but it wo n’t be able to co-elect a prime minister.

Anutin Charnvirakul, the Bhumjaithai Party’s leader, and its candidate for prime minister, said on Monday that the coalition party had no emergency plans in place in the event that Mr. Srettha is ousted.

Mr. Anutin, who serves as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, said,” The coalition government’s unity is still present, and each cabinet minister is continuing to focus on carrying out their duties.”

Last Thursday, the Constitutional Court accepted a petition seeking Mr Srettha’s ouster over the appointment of Pichit Chuenban as PM’s Office Minister.

Mr. Srettha was instructed by the judges to provide an explanation within 15 days. However, the court decided not to suspend him as PM pending its ruling.

A similar petition against Mr. Pichit, which was cited by his resignation as PM’s Office Minister on Tuesday, was also rejected by the court.

In what was thought to be a bid to avoid the legal angst that might surround appointing Mr. Srettha as a cabinet minister despite his eligibility being in doubt, Mr. Pichit submitted his resignation.

Previously, the 40 caretaker senators had asked the Constitutional Court if Mr Srettha and Pichit should be removed from office under Section 170 ( 4 ) and ( 5 ) of the charter, which deals with the ethics of cabinet ministers.

The appointment of Pichit, who once served as ex- prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s lawyer as well as Mr Srettha’s adviser, as PM’s Office minister raised questions about his eligibility to serve as a cabinet minister.

Because he was sentenced to prison for contempt of court when he represented Thaksin in a contentious land deal case in 2008 when he was a prosecutor for an attempted bribery case.

After they attempted to bribe Supreme Court officials by handing them a paper bag containing 2 million baht in cash a fortnight earlier, the Supreme Court sentenced Pichit and two of his colleagues to six months in prison on June 25, 2008.

In the Ratchadaphisek land case, for which Thaksin received a two-year prison sentence in 2008, all three represented Thaksin and his ex-wife, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra.