Govt MP threatens lèse majesté charge if opposition renege on deleting reference to monarchy in censure motion
A Palang Pracharat MP has threatened to file a lèse majesté charge with the police against opposition MPs who sign in support of a censure motion, against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and nine cabinet ministers, which contains references to the monarchy.
Apparently upset with what he alleged is opposition leader Sompong Amornvivat’s broken promise to delete the reference, Sira Jenjakha, an MP representing Bangkok, said Friday that his legal team is preparing a lèse majesté charge to be filed against all signatories to the motion, including Sompong, once the motion is added to the House agenda.
Sompong, who is also leader of the Pheu Thai party, has claimed, however, that he never promised to delete the controversial reference from their censure motion, during a meeting yesterday with the government whips and House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, but only promised to look into the matter.
Opposition parties met after the meeting. They insisted there is nothing wrong with the content of their censure motion and that they will not change a single word, including the reference to the monarchy.
Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, leader of the opposition Prachachart party, reportedly said yesterday that the House Speaker, or his deputy who chairs the censure debate session, will decide if an MP breaches the regulations during the debate and would order them to withdraw the offending statement.
He also insisted that the Constitution does not bar MPs from referring to the monarchy during their debate.
Meanwhile, government chief whip Wirat Rattanaseth warned today that the opposition‘s refusal to delete the offending reference may lead to protests in parliament, to the extent that the debate may be disrupted and end prematurely.
He maintained that the debate will last at most four days, as agreed, and will not be extended, even though some MPs may not get the chance to speak.
The House Speaker has not objected to the opposition’s censure motion, saying that it will be included in the agenda even if the opposition refuses to make any changes.
The debate is tentatively scheduled to take place between February 16th and 19th, with voting to take place on February 20th.