December 21, 2023
BANGKOK – Move Forward Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon received a royal command appointing him as the Opposition leader at a ceremony held at the Parliament on Wednesday morning.
Chaithawat kneeled to pay respect to the royal homage of His Majesty the King as he received the command.
The declaration stated that since Chaithawat is the leader of the largest opposition party in Parliament, with no opposition members holding Cabinet seats or the posts of House speaker and deputies, His Majesty has invoked Article 106 of the charter to appoint him as the opposition leader.
MPs from all other opposition parties, except for Democrat members, congratulated Chaithawat after the ceremony. In addition to the Move Forward MPs, those Parliamentarians from Thai Sang Thai and Fair parties congratulated him.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Chaithawat said he would hold an informal meeting with representatives from other opposition parties as soon as possible to discuss a protocol for joining forces in Parliament and for debating the fiscal 2024 budget bill.
Chaithawat said a formal discussion will have to wait until after the New Year holidays because the Democrat Party, which is the second-largest opposition party, has yet to convene a meeting of its new executive board.
Chaithawat vowed to perform his opposition leader duties to ensure checks and balances to the executive’s power and to protect the public interest.
He does not view it as necessary for the opposition to always be adversarial in its relationship with the government, and could join hands with the government to enact key legislation.
In turn, Chaithawat said, the opposition parties hope that the ruling coalition would support opposition bills, including the equal marriage bill and the ethnic people’s council bill.
Under his leadership, the opposition would not be bent on holding censure debates without justifiable reasons, he said, adding that a no-confidence debate would be held only when there is obvious need.
Chaithawat expressed hope that all opposition parties would respect one another as they must work together to protect the national interest.