Govt: Justice Yet to Run Its Course on Foreign Minister

Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai, right, gestures to reporters May 12, 2016, during a joint news conference with US ambassador Glyn Davies.

BANGKOK — A government spokesman said Monday that Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai would keep his post despite the Election Commission ruling his wife had breached transparency laws.

Citing the justice process had yet to run its course, Lt. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said people should not get emotional about the issue and that the minister should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The Election Commission ruled Friday that his wife did not disclose her ownership of over 5 percent of private company shares – which is against transparency laws. The Constitutional Court will decide on the case after the commission submits its findings.

On Saturday, a day after the Election Commission announced its decision, anti-corruption activist Srisuwan Janya issued a statement urging Don to show spirit by resigning. Srisuwan, secretary general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, cited that similar cases have occured in the past and that by resigning, Don can help protect the image of Thai politics.

Srisuwan criticized those who said Don should wait until the Constitutional Court ruling, alleging such attitude is “dangerous” to political reform, adding it would liken the minister to a typical politician.

Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said the government would adhere to the law on the matter and denied a possible cabinet reshuffle. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan said Monday that the press would have to ask Don himself whether he resigns.

Don could not be reached to comment as of press time.