Niwattumrong stands his ground

The caretaker cabinet has agreed to cooperate with the group of senators led by the speaker-elect but refused to resign for fear of breaking the law.

Acting caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, along with acting caretaker Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri, on Monday met with senators including Uttaradit Senator Phirasak Porchit, the second deputy speaker, and Dejudom Krairit, an appointed member of the Senate. 

Vanchai Sornsiri, an appointed senator, said after the meeting the government insisted on retaining its status as caretaker cabinet, but said it would do everything as proposed by the group so long as it is legal.

The senate group, which comprises about 90 of the 150 senators, would meet again following the meeting and a guideline for a proposed solution would be ready later this week, Mr Vanchai said.

Mr Niwattumrong said after the meeting the caretaker cabinet was fully legitimate under Section 181 of the Constitution and the Constitutional Court's ruling.

He also insisted he had the same powers as a caretaker premier under Sections 10 and 48 of the 1991 Administration Act.

"Having a full-mandate, non-partisan prime minister who is not bound by Section 181 at this time is not possible because a prime minister must be an MP and endorsed by MPs, people we can get only from an election," he said.

Resigning was also not an option as it would be considered dereliction of duty.

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