Move Forward and Pheu Thai tussle over House speakership

The political war of words over the House speakership, between two major coalition parties, Move Forward and Pheu Thai, continued on Wednesday.

Unofficial party-list MP Adisorn Piengket, said that the Move Forward party did not win a majority with its 152 House seats in a 500 seat chamber, adding “Move Forward will have its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, as prime minister, therefore Move Forward should not take all the positions available.”

He was referring to statements by made Move Forward core member Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, who said his party should not surrender the House speakership to a coalition partner if it wants to avoid problems in tabling any amendments to the lèse majesté law in the Parliament.

Adisorn, a former MP of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai party, said, if Move Forward wanted to take all the positions, it should have won 377 House seats, like Thai Rak Thai did in 2005.

House speaker position belongs to Move Forward : Piyabutr

Pheu Thai has already agreed to support Pita as the leader of the administrative branch, so Move Forward should not also take the leadership of the legislative branch.

Without Pheu Thai, Move Forward could not form the government, he stressed.

In the past government, in an exception to tradition, Chuan Leekpai of the Democrat party, which did not win as many seats, took the position of House speaker. Further in the past, Uthai Pimjaichon became president of the National Assembly, even though his party won only three seats.

“Considering both parties’ personnel, I believe that our Pheu Thai MPs are more suited to the position,” Adisorn said.

He said both parties are on the side of democracy side, therefore the position should be settled a by vote in Parliament.

Meanwhile, another Pheu Thai party-list MP Anusorn Iamsa-ard agreed that Move Forward sitting at the core of a coalition government does not mean that all other coalition parties have to bow to all conditions set by the party. Without mentioning Move Forward, Anusorn said that, before the general election, “that party” campaigned on the idea of decentralization.

Anusorn Iamsaard

After the election, however, the party cited tradition, saying the largest party in the House get the speaker position.

Meanwhile, Move Forward spokesman Rangsiman Rome said that the party has no one particular in mind for Speaker of the House yet, as he responded to a reporter’s question about whether Nutthawut Buaprathum, a deputy leader, would be appropriate, adding that there is still plenty of time to find the right person.

One of the important duties of the House speaker to submit the name of the prime minister-elect to His Majesty the King for Royal assent, after being approved by the joint sitting of the House and Senate.

Rangsiman Rome

Asked to comment on the party’s policy to amend the lèse majesté law stands as a stumbling block for senators to vote in support of Pita’s prime ministerial candidacy. Rangsiman said that he does not know for sure whether there are still other reasons for their reluctance to vote for Pita.


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