July 5, 2023
BANGKOK – Election-winner Move Forward and its main coalition partner Pheu Thai shared the two deputy House speaker posts among them after voting in the first House meeting on Tuesday.
Padiphat Santipada, Move Forward MP for Phitsanulok, was elected the first deputy House speaker and Pichet Chuamuangphan, Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, was elected the second, as the two largest coalition partners sealed a compromise over the House leadership.
After weeks of dispute, the two parties on Monday agreed a last-minute deal for Prachachart Party leader Wan Muhamad Noor Matha to take the post of House speaker.
Asked to offer their visions for the post before the House voted, Padiphat said he would work to regain public confidence in the House and allow MPs to regain their pride and freedom from influence of the executive branch.
Padiphat pledged to develop a smart Parliament whose operations meet international standards and to ensure the work of MPs is transparent and can be monitored by the public.
Withaya, meanwhile, promised to protect the legislature’s independence and to uphold the rule of law.
The chairman counted 493 MPs present, before the secret ballot began at 11.07am.
The first vote in the newly elected House suffered a few glitches.
Six parties asked for a break after complaining that their electronic boards for recording ballots as they were counted did not have enough space for the first candidate’s score.
The count was eventually completed at 1.44pm and showed Padiphat had won 312 votes, beating his only challenger, Withaya Kaewparadai of the United Thai Nation party, who received 105 votes. Another 77 ballots were marked “abstention” and two ballots were declared invalid.
The voting was seen as the first test of the Move Forward-led coalition that is aiming to form the next government.
Chairman of the meeting, Pheu Thai MP Wiroj Pao-in, then asked for nominations of candidates for the post of second deputy House speaker.
Since Pichet was the only nominee, he was announced unanimously elected at 1.50pm.
Wiroj closed the first House meeting at 1.51 pm and said the next meeting would be scheduled by new House speaker Wan Noor.