11 July 2024

Government and opposition whips resorted to finger-pointing over the collapse of the House meeting today (Thursday), due to a lack of a quorum.

The House was scheduled to vote on Section 9/1 of a bill to enable impeachment of administrators and councillors in local administrative organisations, which was supposed to be voted on last week.  The meeting was adjourned because there were not enough MPs in the chamber to make up the required quorum.

Signs that today’s meeting may not take place emerged when Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Mai, Julapun Amornvivat, informed House Speaker Chuan Leekpai that opposition MPs will not formally declare their presence in the chamber, although there were physically present, because they disagree with voting on the same issue again.

Chuan tried to save the meeting by repeatedly pressing the buzzer for government MPs to enter the chamber, while seeking cooperation from opposition MPs by formally declaring their presence, but to no avail. After waiting for about half an hour, with no sign of progress, he adjourned the meeting.

After the adjournment, opposition deputy chief whip and Pheu Thai MP Somkid Chueakong called a press conference to blame government MPs for the lack of a quorum.

“The government must explain where their MPs were. Why didn’t they show up to make up the quorum,” said Somkid, adding that, if there had been a quorum, opposition MPs would have attended the meeting.

He also said that the opposition has already made it clear that they disagree with casting another vote on the same issue.

On the other hand, Chinnavorn Boonyakiat, Democrat MP and deputy government chief whip, accused the opposition of playing games in parliament, noting that reaching a quorum, to allow House meetings to proceed, is a joint responsibility of both government and opposition MPs.

Atthakorn Sirilatthayakorn, a party-list MP of the Palang Pracharath Party, explained that some MPs had notified the House in advance that they would not be able to attend the meeting today, because they had “other businesses” to do.