House Speaker’s advisor says censure debate may end by midnight tonight
The four-day censure debate in the Thai parliament is unlikely to be completed by midnight tonight (Friday), as had earlier been agreed between government and opposition parties, and it may be extended into Saturday.
Dr. Sukit Atthopakorn, an advisor to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, told the media this morning that the opposition parties still have 13 hours and 45 minutes remaining debating time,after having used 28 hours and 14 minutes. For the past three days, both government and opposition MPs have spent 41 hours 53 minutes in the debate.
He said that there are 15 hours from the start of the debate today until the deadline at midnight, adding that, if the rest of the debate proceeds as it has for the past three days, it is unlikely that it will be completed by midnight.
If the debate is extended into tomorrow, he said that voting will have to be on Sunday, as the Constitution states clearly that a vote must not be taken the same day as the debate.
Government chief whip Wirat Rattanaseth said Thursday night that a decision is expected today as to whether the debate will be extended, adding that opposition MPs barely referred to the monarchy in their speeches.
He also said that Mr. Suchart Tancharoen, the first Deputy House Speaker, suggested that the debate should be extended,because there is only one censure debate each year after which there is a vote to determine the fate of the censured ministers.