PHOTO: Thai PBS
Highlighting the Government’s frail grip on power, the ruling Palang Pracharat government, together with its 19 coalition partners, suffered its first defeat in the lower house yesterday.
The matter was over a parliamentary regulation that would specify the House speaker’s impartiality in the performance of their duties.
Regulation Number 9 was debated at length in the Lower House meeting, during which speaker Chuan Leekpai was heavily criticised by opposition MPs for alleged bias.
Mr. Chuan protested in defense of his role as House Speaker saying, although he is “an old-generation politician”, he is proud that he has never engaged in and always opposed vote buying “unlike some politicians who sweet-talk in front of the people but win elections through vote buying”.
Opinion was split over whether Regulation No 9 should specify that the House speaker must be impartial. The government camp argued that it is already specified because the speaker’s role was already defined in Section 115 of the Constitution. But the opposition parties demanded that the regulation be amended to clearly specify the requirement for impartiality by the House speaker.
When the issue was put to a vote, 205 opposition MPs voted to amend the regulation against 204 votes on the government side.
Parliamentary sources attributed the government’s first defeat in the lower House to the fact that two smaller parties in the coalition government, which have two MPs, have declared themselves as an “independent opposition.”
Both the House Speaker and Vice Speaker abstained in the voting, as is the custom.
SOURCE: Thai PBS
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