Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Thai impeachment bid fails

AFP, BANGKOK

Thailand’s junta-picked parliament yesterday voted against impeaching 248 ex-lawmakers in a rare reprieve for a party that was unceremoniously kicked out of office after last year’s coup.

The vast majority of the former MPs facing an impeachment vote hailed from the Pheu Thai Party of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, which has been left powerless and silenced since the generals seized power.

The National Legislative Assembly had pushed a retroactive impeachment of the MPs over a 2013 attempt to make the upper house a fully elected chamber, a move that was later deemed unconstitutional in the courts.

A successful impeachment would have seen the ex-lawmakers banned from politics for five years and delivered a hammer blow to Pheu Thai’s political fortunes if the military hands back power to civilians, as it has promised to do so next year.

It required 132 out of 220 assembly members to vote in favor of the motion. However, when the results came, the threshold had not been met for any of the MPs.

“The National Legislative Assembly resolves not to impeach,” Peerasak Porjit, the second vice president for the legislature, told delegates after the results for each former lawmaker had been read out individually.

A similar move earlier this year to punish a group of senators who supported the same bill also failed to win enough votes, and few observers were expecting a new set of mass impeachments over the same issue.

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