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Opposition vows to oppose budget, calls on coalition members to do likewise

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/World Travel & Tourism Council

Thailand’s main opposition party says it will oppose the national budget when it enters parliament on May 31. The Pheu Thai party is also calling on members of the ruling coalition to do the same. Deputy party leader Yutthapong Charassathien says his party will vote against the budget to prevent the bill from passing. According to a Bangkok Post report, the Pheu Thai party says the planned budget will not address the current Covid-19 crisis or help repair the economy in any meaningful way.

If the budget bill passes its first reading, it will proceed to the second and third stages of debate and votes, scheduled to take place between May 31 and June 2. Yutthapong is calling on coalition parties that disagree with how the government is handling the pandemic to also vote against the budget. He says such opposition would leave parliament without a budget, meaning the government would have no option but to call an election.

“I ask that the coalition parties stop keeping this government afloat.”

The move comes on the seventh anniversary of the May 2014 coup that swept former Army general Prayut Chan-o-cha to power, where he has remained ever since.

Yutthapong has also criticised the government’s recently approved loan of 700 billion baht, on top of the 1 trillion it borrowed during the first wave of the pandemic. He points out that to date, only 45 billion of the original loan has been distributed.

The opposition politician suggests the government reduce its defence budget it if needs more money and focus on helping citizens who are bearing the economic brunt of the crisis. He dismisses the government’s previous undertaking to reduce military spending, pointing out that a portion of funds from a Defence Ministry loan approved for economic and social development was used to construct a runway and aircraft maintenance centre for the military.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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