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

G20 draft calls for digital economy rules within the year

Digital laws have been proposed before in the past but is gaining traction ahead of the G20s. The leaders’ declaration for this week’s Group of 20 summit will call for creating a framework for drawing up international rules on the digital economy to be called the “Osaka track,” according to a draft obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun. It will also call for achieving results within the year. The G20 leaders are scheduled to gather in Osaka on Friday and Saturday. In the draft, the section on the digital economy is part of a separate “Osaka statement.” The Osaka statement draft welcomes progress in discussions among about 80 interested World Trade Organization member states on an e-commerce accord. The draft expresses the G20’s support for rule creation and other developments in this area through the Osaka track. It states that the leaders vow to collaborate so people all over the world w


By The Japan News
June 27, 2019

Politics

Pakistan’s Iran conundrum

It’s hard to identify any country that benefits from relentless US efforts to tighten the screws on Iran. On November 21, 1979, Pakistani protesters stormed the United States embassy in Islamabad. They smashed windows and set fire to the building. By the time the Pakistani military had quelled the violence, the embassy had sustained extensive damage and several people — both Americans and Pakistanis — had died. The attack came at a tense moment for US-Pakistan relations. Several months earlier, Washington


By Dawn
June 26, 2019

Politics

The transformation of Gokul Baskota

How Nepal’s communications minister went from being a fierce reporter to a hardline politician against free press. For Gokul Baskota, the last twelve months have been particularly busy. Since taking the helm of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which had been without a leader for several months before his appointment last June, Baskota has eagerly placed himself at the centre of a nonstop media storm, defending every controversial bill the government has tabled or passed—from the Medical Education Bill to the 


By The Kathmandu Post
June 25, 2019

Politics

Rohingya crisis reaches impasse at UN

‘UN couldn’t take strong decision due to lack of consensus’. The United Nation Security Council could not take any strong decision specially on adaptation of a resolution on Rohingya issue due to lack of consensus among permanent members, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen informed parliament Monday. He also said that UN bodies and others Non-Government Organisations were not allowed to Northern Rakhine which is a big hurdle for creating a conducive situation for repatriation of Rohingyas. As a result, Rohingyas are not interested to return to their homeland, he said. “Repatriation of Rohingyas is yet to begin although there are relentless effort of United Nations and others international communities, as there are some challenges,” said Momen while answering to a query of ruling Awami League MP Abdul Latif. “There are strong diplomatic efforts for resolving Rohingya crisis at


By Daily Star
June 25, 2019

Politics

Seventeen dead in Sihanoukville building collapse

The accident happened over the weekend. Rescue team recovered 17 corpses and at least 24 injured who were buried underneath the rubble of a building under construction which collapsed in Preah Sihanouk province. In an immediate response to the tragedy, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a donation of 40 million riel to each of the dead victims’ families. Speaking to The Post early on Sunday, Preah Sihanoukville provincial governor Yun Min said: “Up to 8:30am, we have recorded a death toll of 17 persons. “Another 24 have suffered light to serious injuries and are receiving treatment.” The seven-storey building which is under construction collapsed at about 4 am on June 22. Since then, rescue teams have been working round-the-clock in search and recovery operations as they worked against time to save as many of the victim as possible. Families of the victims were


By Phnom Phen Post
June 24, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong set for more protest

Hong Kong gears up for more protests over extradition Bill as hundreds gather. Protesters began streaming in towards the Hong Kong government headquarters early Friday (June 21) morning, joining others who had camped there overnight after the administration ignored a deadline the previous day to withdraw a controversial extradition Bill. They have vowed to escalate matters on Friday and cut off access to the roads surrounding the government central offices in Tamar, Admiralty until their list of demands are met. These include a complete withdrawal of the proposed law – plans for which have been indefinitely suspended – for the June 12 protests not to be categorised as a riot, for everyone arrested


By The Straits Times
June 21, 2019