23 May 2024

The Government was defeated in the House of Representatives last night (Wednesday) over an opposition motion to set up an ad hoc panel to study impacts resulting from the pre-election, post-coup administration’s orders and executive orders issued under Section 44 of the interim constitution.

The motion was initiated by Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a party-list MP, on the grounds that the impacts of such orders remain and many are still suffering without compensation or rehabilitation.

236 MPs voted in support of the motion against 231 who opposed, prompting rousing applause and cheers from opposition MPs in the House chamber.

The Government chief whip, Mr. Wirat Rattanaseth, stood up to demand a fresh vote count, provoking noisy protests.

House speaker Chuan Leekpai intervened, citing Rule 85, saying that the Government has the right to ask for a fresh count, by means of a roll call, when the vote differential is within 25 votes.

Opposition MPs, however, raised a point of order, with Mr. Wan Muhamad Nor Matha of the Prachachart party saying that, if a fresh count is permitted in this case, there must be a recount every time one is requested.

Amidst continuing protests from opposition MPs, Chuan was adamant, claiming that MPs are entitled to seek a recount and that he has to follow the rule.  The House meeting was eventually adjourned for 15 minutes at the suggestion of opposition leader Sompong Amornvivat.

When the meeting resumed, Chuan persisted with a fresh count. A few opposition MPs, including opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng, raised objections.

At that point, opposition MPs began walking out of the chamber, until the meeting lacked a quorum and was ordered closed.