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MP Panich defies advice to stay away

Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban (right) talks with Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth (left) at the joint sitting on Jan 25, 2011.
Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth has defied a
request to stay away from parliament by taking his seat to vote on
amendments to the constitution.
House speaker Chai Chidchob asked Mr Vanich yesterday to take a
leave of absence to prevent possible legislative problems over his
status as an MP, which remains unclear after his conviction last week
by a Cambodian court.
Mr Chai met with parliamentarians to discuss Mr Panich’s status
before the joint meeting of the houses began debating the amendments.
He then told the Democrat MP he wanted him to absent himself from the
session.
Mr Panich and four other Thais were given nine-month suspended jail
sentences last Thursday by a Phnom Penh court for illegal entry into
Cambodia.
The MP yesterday stood firm on his right to attend the joint
meeting. He insisted he was still a member of the lower house and so
was entitled to cast his vote.
The Democrat MP voted in support of the charter amendments.
The Election Commission has decided to set up a subcommittee to
investigate Mr Panich’s conviction and recommend whether he should lose
his seat.
Commissioner Prapan Naigowit said the EC received a report yesterday
from the Foreign Affairs Ministry concerning the court verdict against
Mr Panich.
The law bars those convicted of a crime from sitting in the lower
house. The subcommittee must decide if a conviction in a foreign court
would disqualify Mr Panich of his MP status.
The EC will forward its decision to the house speaker. If it finds
Mr Panich should be stripped of his seat, the speaker would forward the
matter to the Constitution Court for a final ruling.
Section 106 (5) of the constitution states that an MP will lose
their seat if sentenced to jail, regardless of whether the sentence is
suspended, except where the offence is considered unintentional.
Bangkok Post
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Categories: World News
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