Sondhi may face legal action from Thai Rak Thai party

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

According to the Thai News Agency Sondhi Limthongkul, an outspoken critic of the government and Prime Minister, may face legal action.

This would not be the first time the de-facto leader of the campaign to oust the Prime minister has faced legal action over his words. In 2005, a number of lawsuits were filed by the Prime Minister against Sondhi, most notable being a 1 billion baht suit in November. Thailand's King, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama the ninth) made use of his 78th birthday speech to comment on the issue and advise that the government must accept some criticism. This resulted in the dropping of the lawsuits.

Sondhi's recurring open-air rallies and protests have made calls for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to resign or to be impeached. It is remarks made at a rally held this weekend at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok that are under scrutiny by lawyers for the ruling Thai Rak Thai party. Dr Surapong, who announced the party's investigation of the remarks, described them as "offensive" and "verbal abuse". He called for a halt to the accusations whilst a petition detailing alleged offenses of the Prime Minister was reviewed.

That petition was submitted for the attention of the King as the climax to Sondhi's last rally in Royal Plaza on February 5. After addressing a crowd estimated to number more than 100,000. Sondhi then delivered the petition through an aid at the residence of the President of the Privy Council. Several accusations are leveled at the Prime Minister in the petition, including allegations that he has used his position for personal financial gain.

A new petition seeking the Prime Minister's impeachment, which was started on February 10, reached 7,500 signatures in just 3 days. Thammasat university's student union has started this effort which, according to the country's constitution, requires a total of 50,000 signatures gathered within 180 days for the impeachment process to begin.

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