Yongyuth quits as speaker to save house dignity
  Yongyuth quits as speaker to save house dignity

Yongyuth Tiyapairat yesterday announced his immediate resignation as House Speaker, saying he did not want to show up as head of Parliament before the Supreme Court tomorrow for an election fraud case.

In doing so, the legislative branch's dignity would be affected. And that would be unfair to other fellow lawmakers, he said.

Yongyuth also expressed concern about the political conflict, which is becoming increasingly severe.

I hope I am the last victim of the friction. I want our society to coexist peacefully.

Yongyuth, who is also a deputy leader of the ruling People Power Party, is facing three election-related cases. In one of them, the Supreme Court is considering whether to endorse the Election Commission's decision to disqualify him as an MP for vote-buying.

A court endorsement could give the EC the grounds to seek dissolution of his party.

Political sources have cited Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama or Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat as possibly succeeding Yongyuth as House Speaker.

Sompong's name had been circulated as Speaker ahead of Yongyuth right after the December 2007 election results were known.

Either minister's move to the Speaker's post would trigger a reshuffling of the Cabinet, which already faces the potential loss of Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsap and Deputy Commerce Minister Wiroon Techapaiboon due to their failure to disclose their assets as required by law.

A less disruptive choice would be to promote first deputy House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont, political sources said.

Yongyuth told an outdoor press conference at Parliament House that his stepping down as Speaker would not affect the Supreme Court case against him, nor was it aimed at accommodating the coalition parties' motion to seek a constitutional amendment.

It won't result in ending the case, he said.

Even though he was on leave of absence since the EC filed its case with the court, he said a caretaker Speaker could perform his job.

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