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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Faces Critical Ethics Review by Constitutional Court: July 10 Decision Looms

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In a picturesque display of the intertwining of old and new faces in Thai politics, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was recently seen paying respects to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at Thaksin’s residence in Bangkok during the Songkran festival this past April. The image of reverence serves as a soft backdrop to a more turbulent political picture.

The Constitutional Court announced on Tuesday that it will review an ethics case against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin come July 10. This decision is currently pending the collection of opinions from various involved parties and organizations. To aid in the deliberation, the court has meticulously assigned specific topics for relevant entities to provide written insights, all to be submitted within 15 days. The amassed feedback is set to play a crucial role in the court’s ultimate decision.

Prime Minister Srettha had already submitted his defense to the Constitutional Court on June 7. The controversy revolves around the contentious appointment of Pichit Chuenban as a Minister in the PM’s Office—a decision that has sparked widespread debate.

The case was spearheaded by a coalition of caretaker senators, who petitioned the court to determine whether Srettha and Pichit should be removed from office under Sections 170 (4) and (5) of the Thai constitution. These sections relate to the ethical conduct expected of cabinet ministers. Pichit, who resigned from the cabinet last month, has a storied past that has come back into sharp focus.

Before his recent foray into the cabinet, Pichit served as a close advisor to Prime Minister Srettha. However, his connection to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is perhaps the most controversial aspect of his career. Pichit was Thaksin’s lawyer during the infamous “lunchbox cash” scandal. On June 25, 2008, Pichit, along with two legal colleagues, was sentenced to six months in prison by the Supreme Court for attempted bribery involving the surreptitious passing of 2 million baht inside a lunch box to court officials. Having served his sentence, Pichit’s critics argue he remains unfit for cabinet duties.

The three lawyers were representing Thaksin and his ex-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra in the high-profile Ratchadaphisek land purchase case. Consequently, Thaksin was sentenced to two years in prison in the same year, charged with abusing his authority as prime minister. He was accused of facilitating his then-wife Khunying Potjaman’s acquisition of 33 rai of land on Thiam Ruam Mit Road in the Ratchadaphisek area from the Bank of Thailand’s Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) at a heavily discounted price of 772 million baht back in 2003.

The Supreme Court had underscored back then that Thaksin was expected to set a high ethical standard due to his entrusted position. A decade later, these past transgressions still resonate, casting long shadows over present political proceedings.

But let’s pause for a moment. Politics is often a serpentine path of alliances and rivalries, where narratives intertwine and past decisions echo through present controversies. The image of Prime Minister Srettha honoring Thaksin during Songkran is more than ceremonial; it’s symbolic of the enduring bonds that define Thai politics. While the ethics case unfolds, it’s a reminder that politics is never just about policies; it’s about people, history, and the stories that persist.

The upcoming court decision is likely to be a pivotal one, setting a precedent for what is deemed acceptable ethical behavior in Thailand’s corridors of power. As July 10 approaches, the nation watches, waiting to see how the echoes of the past will inform the future. The drama—part legal battle, part political theater—continues, serving up a rich narrative that’s as complex and engaging as Thai politics itself. From revered traditions to courtroom showdowns, the saga of Prime Minister Srettha and Pichit Chuenban stands as a testament to the layered and often dramatic world of governance in Thailand.


  1. AlexB June 18, 2024

    Prime Minister Srettha’s connection to Thaksin is really questionable. It makes you wonder about the transparency in Thai politics.

    • Hari N June 18, 2024

      Totally agree. The fact that Srettha is seen paying respects to a controversial figure like Thaksin speaks volumes!

      • Sophia K June 18, 2024

        But isn’t it also about respecting traditions and the senior figures in politics? Maybe we are reading too much into it.

      • AlexB June 18, 2024

        Tradition or not, ethics should come first. Thai politics can’t afford another scandal.

    • DeeDee145 June 18, 2024

      Thai politics is a mess. History keeps repeating itself.

  2. Chan June 18, 2024

    I think Pichit’s past actions should definitely disqualify him from any cabinet position. Once a crook, always a crook.

  3. Liam Turner June 18, 2024

    The July 10 decision will be crucial. The court should show no leniency towards unethical behavior.

    • Maggi June 18, 2024

      But what if this decision causes instability in the government? That would be a bigger issue.

    • Abe June 18, 2024

      Ethics should come first, no matter what. Stability built on corruption is not real stability.

      • Liam Turner June 18, 2024

        Exactly, we need to set a precedent for future leaders. No compromises.

  4. Tina X June 18, 2024

    Thai politics never ceases to amaze me. From lunchbox bribes to land scandals, it’s like a never-ending soap opera.

    • Jennie88 June 18, 2024

      For real! It’s almost entertaining if it wasn’t so sad for the people of Thailand.

    • Nithi June 18, 2024

      It’s a reflection of the larger issue—systemic corruption that needs to be addressed at all levels.

  5. Pravit June 18, 2024

    Pichit served his time. Shouldn’t he get a second chance?

    • AnnaJ June 18, 2024

      A second chance in politics? Really? This isn’t some minor mistake we’re talking about.

    • Rahul S. June 18, 2024

      Exactly. This is about ethics and integrity. You don’t get a ‘second chance’ at that.

  6. Jasmine L June 18, 2024

    This whole situation just shows how much influence Thaksin still has. It’s unsettling.

    • MintyFresh June 18, 2024

      Unsettling, but not surprising. Thai politics has always been about who you know.

    • Victor P. June 18, 2024

      Maybe the problem is that people expect immediate change. These things take time.

  7. George_24 June 18, 2024

    The court’s decision will either uphold or shatter public trust in the Thai government.

  8. Pat June 18, 2024

    If Pichit was Thaksin’s lawyer during the lunchbox scandal, doesn’t it say something about Srettha’s judgment in keeping him around?

    • Kung June 18, 2024

      Absolutely. Birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes.

    • Joey June 18, 2024

      Or maybe Srettha is trying to turn things around, giving people a chance to redeem themselves.

  9. Emerald June 18, 2024

    Ethics in politics seems like an oxymoron nowadays.

  10. Sakchai R. June 18, 2024

    Will the ethics case actually change anything, or is it just another political drama?

    • TheRealDon June 18, 2024

      Sadly, probably just more drama. Real change is hard to come by.

    • Solaris June 18, 2024

      I hope it sends a strong message that unethical behavior won’t be tolerated.

  11. Wasiq June 18, 2024

    The coalition of caretaker senators should be commended for taking this step. Someone needs to hold these leaders accountable.

    • Leesha June 18, 2024

      It’s good to see some action, but let’s wait and see if it has any real impact.

  12. Eua June 18, 2024

    Pichit’s resignation shows that there’s some sense of accountability. Let’s not lose all hope.

  13. Ivy Poe June 18, 2024

    Everyone involved in this scandal should be permanently barred from public office.

  14. Desiree D June 18, 2024

    This is getting too intense. All this drama is overshadowing the real issues Thailand faces.

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