Political manoeuvres have seen Deputy House Speaker Padipat Santipada ousted from the Move Forward Party (MFP), a strategic move that preserves the position for MFP allies while the party transitions into its new function as the primary opposition party. This was the consensus amongst politicians and academics alike.
Padipat, having been given an ultimatum by the MFP, made the decision not to step down from his position, leading to his expulsion. This move has been widely criticised as a ploy by the opposition party to monopolise power and control.
According to the constitution, a party cannot simultaneously hold the role of opposition leader and occupy a speaker’s post. As a result, Padipat, representing Phitsanulok as an MP, had to face a tough choice – resign or find another solution.
When Padipat decided to retain his position as deputy speaker, MFP responded with his expulsion. The party issued a statement on Thursday night, explaining that this move was necessary for them to assume the role of opposition leader.
While this course of action is seen as a calculated strategy to ensure the MFP’s dominance in the House, it has sparked backlash from other parties. Taenkhun Jit-issara, a member of the Democrat Party, criticised the expulsion as lacking dignity, accusing the MFP of using its alliances to unfairly secure both the deputy House speaker and opposition leader posts.
Taenkhun is now considering referring the matter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for investigation into the party’s conduct.
Another voice of dissent is Senator Seree Suwanpanont, who argued that Padipat’s expulsion contradicts the Constitution. He explained that the MP was not expelled due to a conflict but as part of a tactical move to maintain his speaker post. He suggested the possibility of filing a petition with the Constitutional Court via the Office of the Ombudsman for a judicial verdict.
House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, when questioned about the controversy surrounding the MFP, chose to remain uninvolved. He also declined to comment on the call for a Constitutional Court ruling, Bangkok Post reported.
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