Sunday, November 16, 2008

Apirak resigns

Apirak resignsBangkok voters will vote in a new governor election in January with Democrat deputy party leader Korn Chatikavanij tipped to run in the contest after Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin (photo) announced his resignation yesterday.

Mr Apirak’s resignation, which will take effect on Nov 20, came one day after he was implicated in City Hall’s fire engine procurement scandal by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The anti-graft agency ruled that he had violated the Criminal Code’s Article 157 when he opened a letter of credit for the 6.8-billion-baht deal.

Mr Apirak, who was re-elected in a landslide victory on Oct 5, said his decision to step down even though the case has yet to go to court is to set a standard for Thai politics.

Mr Apirak protested his innocence, saying he had sought advice from various agencies, including the Interior Ministry and the Commerce Ministry, and was advised to open the letter of credit for the purchase to go through.

Election commissioner Prapun Naigowit said the new governor election is tentatively scheduled for Jan 11, noting that the Election Commission must fill the post within 60 days of Mr Apirak’s resignation.

He said Mr Apirak is not obliged to pay for the new election.

Mr Apirak also apologised to Bangkok voters who re-elected him as governor, and the Democrat party which backed his bid for re-election.

‘‘I apologise to the people for this. I also apologise to the Democrat party and the executive board. I will return after I go through the justice process,’’ said Mr Apirak.

He said he had decided to run in the city governor election in October because he was confident that he had done nothing illegal.

The party gave full support to Mr Apirak to fight the charges in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

‘‘I think he has made the right decision. City voters can now choose a new governor instead of waiting in uncertainty,’’ said Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Mr Korn, a Democrat MP, said the party never doubted Mr Apirak’s transparency and would do its best to help him fight the charges. ‘‘Mr Apirak has taken responsibility in a way that he believes will help the development of democracy,’’ Mr Korn said.

Mr Korn did not rule out running for Bangkok governor, saying he would comply with whatever the party decided.

tip – to say who you think will get a particular job ការនែនាំ
implicate – to show or suggest that someone is involved in wrongdoing ជាប់ទាក់ទង
scandal – a situation in which important people behave in a dishonest or immoral way that shocks people រឿងអាស្រូវ
graft – corruption អំពើរពុករលួយ
rule – (of a court or other group with similar authority) to make and announce a decision
violate – to do something that is against the law ល្មើសច្បាប
criminal code – the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment ប្រមូលផ្តុំច្បប់ព្រហ្មទណ្ឌ
article – part of a legal document, agreement or law that deals with a particular point មាត្រា
landslide victory – an election victory by a very large margin or amount ការឈ្នះដាច
protested his innocence – claimed that he had done nothing against the law បញ្ជាក់មិនបានខុស
transparency – an honest way of doing things that allows other people to know exactly what you are doing
rule out – to stop considering something as a possibility ប្រកាស់ថាវាមិនអាចកើតឡើងបាន
comply – to obey a rule or law ប្រព្រិត្តតាមច្បាប់

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