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Article 44 order on Constitutional Court judges and Audit Commission is essential, Wissanu says

Apr 10. 2017
First page of the order enacted by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on April 5
First page of the order enacted by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on April 5
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By The Nation

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Government legal experts said on Monday that an Article 44 order on the selection of new Constitutional Court judges and members of the State Audit Commission (SAC) was essential – to get officers in charge while related organic laws are not yet available.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said an order issued last Wednesday aims to fill seats that will soon be vacant in the these bodies, given that some officials are set to complete their terms. 

Five of the Constitutional Court judges, for instance, are set to leave, which would make the quorum incomplete and unable to function if replacements weren’t found and appointed.

Wissanu said the normal procedure requires enforcement of the related organic law and could take as long as a year, given that the law is likely to be the last among 10 essential organic laws to be drafted.

The order, enacted via Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s sweeping power under Article 44 of the interim charter, was not meant to prolong the ruling junta’s power, the deputy PM said.

“The order was done on a necessity basis so that those bodies can continue to function,” he said. “If not, we wouldn’t touch these independent agencies.”

Members of the State Audit Commission, he said, would complete their terms this September, the same period when Auditor General Pisit Leelavachiropas will end his time in office, although his age will reach the “limit” this month.

Pisit’s deputy would act on behalf of the Auditor General after the latter leaves, while waiting for a new set of Commission members to appoint the new Auditor General, he said.

Asked why all of these positions could not be taken by other officials, Wissanu said that doing so could be inappropriate, given that the officials leaving, such as judges in the Constitutional Court, are leaving because they have completed their terms and have reached official age limits.

Meanwhile, Constitution Drafting Commission chairman Meechai Ruchuphan said the Article 44 order adhered to usual selection methods for members of both agencies so they can continue to function once related organic laws are in place.  The said methods were also in line with stipulations in the current charter, he said.


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