See More on Facebook

Politics

Slim majority means tough time head for Thai parliament

Hard-fought wins in lower house point to tough times ahead for next government.


Written by

Updated: May 27, 2019

The results of the weekend’s voting to fill the posts of speaker and deputy speaker of the lower house pointed to the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat Party taking a leading role in parliamentary politics, but its slender victory margins also signalled difficulties ahead for the administration.

The vote for speaker showed that Phalang Pracharat had won over the key undecided parties – Democrat and Bhumjaithai – and was poised to lead the coalition.

But the next administration, which would need maximum votes in the lower house to move policies forward, could face hurdles at every step.

Though the lower house speaker and deputy speaker positions went to Phalang Pracharat-backed figures, giving it the upper hand in Parliament, the wins were narrow and indicated possible future swings.

Democrat Chuan Leekpai triumphed over Pheu Thai candidate Sompong Amornvivat by 23 votes (258-235). The figure suggests some defections in the anti-junta bloc.

But in the vote for the position of first deputy speaker, veteran politician Suchart Tancharoen defeated first-time MP Yaowalak Wongpraparat from the fledgling Future Forward Party by just two votes (248-246).

The second deputy speaker’s post went to Supachai Phosu, who secured 256 votes against 239 for Seri Ruamthai candidate Prasong Buranapong.

In such a tight situation, smaller parties that would back the Phalang Pracharat-led coalition are seen to have a significant leverage over the pro-junta party.

The Democrats and Bhumjaithai, who together have 103 MPs, look likely to gain a fair share of Cabinet portfolios.

The hiccup in the vote for speaker on Saturday could portend Phalang Pracharat’s fate in the lower house.

Suchart reportedly was to run for speaker, but Phalang Pracharat had to nominate Chuan at the last minute, leading to some discontent among pro-junta MPs.

Apparently, in a struggle to overcome internal disagreement, the pro-junta bloc motioned for postponement of the speaker’s election but failed when some pro-Suchart MPs voted against the move.

Aside from such internal challenges, it was also observed that the pro-junta camp would face strong opposition from Pheu Thai and Future Forward.

The elections of all speakers was expected to be completed in a single day, but the process dragged out to two full days, partly because the rival blocs locked horns and neither was prepared to give way.

Pro tem speaker Chai Chidchob had to adjourn the meeting a couple of times when they refused to back down.

Starting from when Phalang Pracharat attempted to postpone the election of the house speaker on Saturday, the two blocs debated for nearly two hours before Chai called a break.

Phalang Pracharat finally gave in and agreed that the chamber could vote to decide whether or not to defer the election.

The election on Saturday took more than eight hours and two other motions to elect the first and second deputy speakers were put off to yesterday.

Yesterday morning, Future Forward motioned for the candidates to give a “vision speech” before the vote, seeking to establish the credentials of its candidate, Yaowalak. But Chai, a highly experienced house speaker aligned with Phalang Pracharat, abruptly dismissed the proposal after the heated |atmosphere showed signs of worsening.

More wrangling followed, especially during the vote to choose the second deputy speaker. Pheu Thai MPs led by Cholnan Srikaew protested over ballots that bore an erroneous surname for the candidate. They also asked Chai to stop the referee from recording the vote count on video.

The MPs said the manner of the recording was suspicious and questioned whether the ballots had been marked to indicate the identities of the voters in order to secure “rewards” later on.

Chai disagreed with both motions despite heated debate and ordered the process to continue.

The elections yesterday also took more than eight hours.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Indonesia slams Singapore for withholding information on nationals treated for COVID-19

Indonesia complains on Singapore insisting to withhold personal information of its citizens showing COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta. The Indonesian government has complained that Singapore insists on withholding the personal information of several Indonesian citizens believed to have shown COVID-19 symptoms in Jakarta and tested positive for the lethal virus in the city-state. Jakarta said it was facing difficulties in tracing and isolating those who might have had contact with the patients, now being treated at Singaporean hospitals. “We have asked for the identities of the Indonesian nationals from Singapore. They did not give us the names. How are we going to conduct the tracing in Indonesia? Singapore is adamant on not disclosing their identities,”


By The Jakarta Post
March 13, 2020

Politics

Seoul stocks sink, trigger first circuit breaker for 5 min in 8 years 

The Kospi plummeted more than 5 per cent during Thursday trading, which triggered the stock exchange to temporarily halt trading on Korea’s main bourse, as investor sentiments weighed on the coronavirus pandemic. The Korea Exchange activated a “sidecar,” meaning it temporarily halted the trading of shares, for five minutes around 1:04 p.m. after Kospi 200 index futures slipped over 5 percent. It was the first time the sidecar had been activated for the Kospi since Oct. 4, 2011, when Greece defaulted on its debts. “The temporarily halt trading was due to the plunging of the Kospi 200 index futures. They plummeted from 256.90 points to 243.90 points — down 13 points, or 5.06 percent at that time for over a minute,” a KRX official said. The s


By Asia News Network
March 12, 2020

Politics

Final temporary hospital in Wuhan closes its doors

A total of 15 such hospitals, converted from exhibition halls, sports stadiums and warehouses, received more than 12,000 patients. All the 15 temporary hospitals built to exclusively receive novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, Hubei province, have been closed, with the daily number of reported new cases hitting a record low. Wuchang Temporary Hospital, which was converted from a sports stadium, closed on Tuesday afternoon after its final 49 patients were discharged, making it the last of the temporary hospitals in Wuhan, the centre of the epidemic in China, to close its doors. The hospital, which was converted within two days, received a total of 1,124 patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 in the 35 days of its operation. No patients died in the hosp


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Politics

Social media curbs removed in Jammu and Kashmir after seven months

 Jammu and Kashmir administration removes restrictions on social media use across Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown since the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on Wednesday removed restrictions from social media usage across the Union Territory almost seven months after a communication clampdown on the eve of the Centre’s August 5 announcement to scrap the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 and its bifurcation. The directions came after a review of the situation by the J&K Home department. The order, issued without the


By The Island
March 10, 2020

Politics

15 Korean pharmas, 4 state institutes research coronavirus

South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus. South Korea’s state-run research institutes and pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find a cure for the new coronavirus, according to news reports Monday. Around 15 firms and four institutes here are burning the midnight oil to get an effective cure, according to Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association. KPBMA Chairman Won Hee-mok emphasized the synergies between private and public research bodies in yielding a faster outcome. The association identified Korean companies working on vaccines — including SK Bioscience, GC Pharma, Boryung Biopharma, Sumagen and G+FLAS Life Sciences. T


By Asia News Network
March 9, 2020

Politics

‘Incredible India’ now being viewed as intolerant India, says FM Qureshi

 “Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn,” says the foreign minister. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday stated that ‘Incredible India’ is now being viewed as “intolerant India”, and ‘Shining India’ as “burning India”, adding that the country is now facing international scrutiny like never before. The foreign minister expressed these views while speaking at a seminar, organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies, in Islamabad. During his address, Qureshi stated: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies are taking a bloody and dangerous turn, as predicted by Prime Minister Imran Khan.” Referring to the country


By Asia News Network
March 6, 2020