6 June 2024

House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said that he will call a meeting of House and Senate whips this Wednesday to set the date for a joint sitting to select the prime minister, which could be any day from August 18 to 22.

He said he will, however, have to wait for a decision by the Constitutional Court, expected this Wednesday, on whether it will accept a petition from the ombudsman challenging parliament’s decision, by a majority vote, to reject the renomination of Move Forward party leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s prime ministerial candidacy.

Wan said that parliament wants a new government to be formed as quickly as possible, but must be in compliance with the law, adding that he hopes the selection of a prime minister will go smoothly.

To date, the nine-party coalition, cobbled together by the Pheu Thai party, only commands 238 votes, which is still short of amajority in the 500-seat House.

The Pheu Thai party has not yet formally approached two other parties, Palang Pracharath and United Thai Nation, to invite them to join the coalition out of concern for a potential backlash from its voters, who view the two parties as remnants of the post-coup military junta.

Members of the two parties have openly expressed their willingness to join the Pheu Thai-led coalition, on the conditions that the lèse majesté law is left intact and the Move Forward party will not be included in the coalition.

Palang Pracharath MP Pai Leeke has already stated that the party’s 40 MPs are ready to vote in support of Pheu Thai’s prime ministerial candidate Srettha Thavisin. The party is due to meet tomorrow to adopt a resolution on how it should vote in the joint sitting.

Meanwhile, the United Thai Nation party is also scheduled to meet this week to discuss how the party’s 36 MPs should vote in the prime minister’s selection.

Most Democrat MPs, led by former secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on, are also interested in joining the Pheu Thai-led coalition, but a resolution from the party on the issue is not expected to be adopted, because the party remains unable to elect a new leader and executive committee after two recent meetings lacked quora.