House speaker warns MPs to behave when new Thai parliament sits tomorrow

PHOTO: “Behave!” – House Speaker Chuan Leekpai – Thai PBS

The first sitting of the new parliament will be tomorrow (Thursday) when the coalition government, led by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, will lay out the policies of the government. And MPs are being warned to behave ahead of time.

Members of parliament are being warned by the speaker of the house to be disciplined and to refrain from unruly behaviour during the two-day debate on the government policy statement.

Parliament president and House Speaker Chuan Leekpai held a meeting yesterday with the parliamentary whips from government and opposition parties and the Senate to discuss time limits debate on the motions arising from the opening speeches.

It was agreed at the meeting that the entire debate would take about 28.5 hours, starting at 9.30am and end at between midnight and 1 am of the next day. The debate will resume on Friday at the same time and to end at the same time.

The opposition parties are allotted 13.5 hours for the debate, while the government parties are given 5.

Previously during parliamentary meetings, MPs resorted to heckling to disrupt the speeches of their rival members, triggering counter protests and unnecessary delays.

Meanwhile, the Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul announced that it will focus on debating on the government’s policies and will not challenge individual ministers, including PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Piyabutr said that his debate would concentrate on the issues of democracy, human rights and decentralization, adding that the government policy statement spared only two paragraphs to mention constitutional amendments, without any commitment being made by the government.

Meanwhile PM Prayut and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan are expected to be the main focus of the opposition Pheu Thai party.

Pheu Thai spokesman Anusorn Iam Sa-ard questioned the presence of Deputy PM Prawit at the seminar of the Palang Pracharat MPs, at an illegal resort in Nakhon Ratchasima province, pointing out that the he is not a party member “but an outsider who may exercise influence over the party.”

The PM is expected to be grilled on his qualifications to be prime minister, due to his status as head of the new defunct NCPO – the military government that ran Thailand from 2014 until last week.


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