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Thai deputy prime minister resigns

BANGKOK, Sept. 28 — Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit Friday announced his resignation from all of his ministerial posts due to dispute during his past civil servant post.

Yongyuth, also the interior minister, is now serving as acting prime minister during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's visit to the United States.

Youngyuth, serving in several top posts in various government agencies, including permanent secretary of the interior minister, director-general of the Department of Lands and chairman of the Metropolitan Electricity, before entering politics with the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

Yongyuth's eligibility to serve in the cabinet and as an MP is in doubt since the National Anti-Corruption Commission recently found him guilty of malfeasance for his handling of a controversial land case while he was a deputy permanent secretary for the interior minister in 2002.

As a result, the Interior Ministry's Civil Service Committee has decided to expel Yongyuth — as a then deputy permanent secretary — with the expulsion order retroactively taking effect on September 30, 2002.

This had led to a mounting pressure on Yongyuth to resign from cabinet posts especially from the opposition Democrat Party and some Pheu Thai MPs who aimed for the posts.

"I decided to quit as deputy prime minister and interior minister with regret and without suggestions from anyone," Yongyuth said Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, only a day before his resignation, Yongyuth submitted a petition to the Election Commission to examine the legal matter whether the retroactive expulsion order would make him illegible for holding the ministerial posts.

The outgoing minister added he still serves as Pheu Thai Party leader and Pheu Thai MP.

The resignation takes effect on Oct 1. (PNA/Xinhua)

HBC/UTB

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