A petition signed by about 80,000 eligible voters across Thailand was submitted to the Senate Friday, calling for the impeachment of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for conflicts of interest, according to the state-run Thai News Agency.
The petition was submitted by Thailand's university students network led by students at Thammasat University in Bangkok on behalf of voters countrywide, which concerns the sell-off of Shin Corporation's stocks and intended assets concealment on the part of Thaksin regarding his Ample Rich shares.
Headed by leading activist Thanachai Sunthornanantachai, former president of the Thammasat University Student Union, and eight other members, the students submitted 38 boxes of petitions, with a total of 79,217 names of eligible voters gathered from across the country to Senate Deputy Speaker Sahas Pindhusenee.
The petitioners called for Thaksin to be impeached for alleged misconduct against his civil service position and duties in the tax-free 73 billion baht (about 1.9 billion U.S. dollars) sell-off of Shin Corp's shares to Singapore's Temasek Holdings and his alleged intention to conceal his assets in connection with the transfer of his shares in Ample Rich Investment to his children.
Receiving the petition, Sahas said the Senate would examine whether all the signatories of the petition are eligible to do so according to the constitution.
If the examination finds that the petition does not meet the requirement stated in the law, the Secretariat of the Senate will inform the petitioners to make corrections within 30 days, after which the Senate speaker will send the revised petition to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) for its deliberation, he said.
The Senate deputy speaker refrained from commenting on whether the impeachment process could be implemented while Thaksin holds the caretaker premiership and said he was unable to specify how long the impeachment process would take.
A minimum number of 50,000 persons is required by the constitution to launch an impeachment bid.
An earlier impeachment attempt was made in February when a group of senators petitioned the Constitution Court to impeach the prime minister under Articles 96, 216 and 209 of the constitution.
However, the court rejected the petition with the majority judges, saying the petition failed to present sufficient grounds to support the prime minister's alleged misconduct.