With a Smile, Foreign Minister Signals He Won’t Resign

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai smile to reporters Tuesday when asked about his job security.

BANGKOK — Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai signaled Tuesday he would not resign after the Election Commission ruled he violated the law for not declaring his wife’s stake in a private company.

Asked if he would resign, the veteran diplomat smiled at a reporters before going into today’s cabinet meeting, saying only that he would wait until the Constitutional Court rules on the matter. Don did not declare his wife owned 5 percent of a real estate holding company created along with her siblings to park money inherited from their father.

Don said she’s since transferred a fifth of those shares to one of their children.

“The pressure that everyone is talking about, whether it is considered pressure or not, is up to me. … The answer is on my face, and I insist, I don’t feel pressured. I will carry out my work,” Don said, smiling.

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On Friday, the Election Commission ruled that Don violated Article 187 of the junta-sponsored 2017 constitution by failing to disclose the shares.

Calls have come for Don to resign or go on leave until the Constitutional Court issues a ruling. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam also defended Don on Tuesday, saying it’s not illegal for him to continue working, although he said the decision was up to him.

Don’s portfolio includes ambassadorial posts in the United States, China, the European Union and United Nations. He was also part of a historic delegation that traveled to Beijing on a mission to “thaw” relations with the Communist regime in 1975. Unlike many of his colleagues, his reputation was largely unscathed by scandals and gaffes that have surfaced in recent years.