Thai minister resigns over rotten fish scandal

February 3rd, 2009 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Feb 3 (DPA) Less that two months into its administration, Thailand’s new government lost its first minister to a corruption scandal Tuesday with the resignation of Social Development and Human Security Minister Witoon Nambutr.”I am resigning in a show of political spirit, although I admit it is painful,” said Witoon, a member of the Democrat Party.

Witoon is under investigation for alleged irregularities in the ministry’s purchase of canned fish to assist flood victims in Phattalung province last month.

The canned fish turned out to be rotten, raising a stink for the Democrat-led government that came to power Dec 20.

The Democrats formed the current government after the previous coalition government led by the People’s Power Party (PPP) collapsed.

On Dec 3, the Constitution Court disbanded the PPP for committing election fraud in the Dec 23, 2007 polls and banned its chief executives including former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat from politics for five years.

The dissolution allowed the Democrats to set up a new coalition government with smaller parties and a breakaway faction of the former PPP.

The Democrat Party, which was relegated to the opposition for eight years during the reign of Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his nominees, have made fighting corruption a key platform issue - an image now somewhat tainted by Witoon and the rotten fish.

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