11 July 2024

Thailand’s core opposition party, Pheu Thai, will stay away from the joint special sitting of the House and Senate tomorrow (Monday), being convened to deliberate the final reading of the bill to amend the method used for thecalculation of party-list seats, the party’s spokesperson Teerarat Samretwanich said today.

She also said, however, that, if there is a quorum for the joint sitting even if without the presence of Pheu Thai MPs, some Pheu Thai MPs will join the meeting to speak against the change in the calculation method and will then leave the chamber and refrain from voting.

The Bangkok MP said that the Pheu Thai party cannot accept a legal amendment which may violate the Constitution, adding that the party has sympathy for the president of the parliament, Chuan Leekpai, who may have been pressured by government MPs to organise the meeting tomorrow to deliberate the bill.

Tomorrow as the last day that the bill can be endorsed by the House and the Senate, failing that it will automatically be dropped.

Deputy leader of the Democrat party, Ongart Klampaiboon, said today that there is a greater possibility that the joint sitting tomorrow will not happen, due to a lack of a quorum, as numerous senators and MPs from various parties may stay away.

Government chief whip, Nirote Sunthornlekha, said yesterday that Palang Pracharath Party Leader Prawit Wongsuwan had instructed all party MPs to attend the meeting tomorrow.

He admitted, however, that some MPs might miss the meeting because they have to return to their constituencies to attend meetings with sub-district and village heads, as tomorrow is the “Kamnan-Phuyaibaan (sub-district chief and village head) Day”.

In a rare move, the ruling Palang Pracharath party is working with the main opposition Pheu Thai party to reverse an earlier decision by parliament concerning the base for calculation of party list seat allocation, thereby undermining the ability for smaller parties to win seats I subsequent.