11 July 2024

Seri Ruam Thai party leader Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyavet became the first MP to be told to leave parliament, after he refused to withdraw his accusation that General Prayut Chan-o-cha has become the Prime Minister of Thailand for the second term through election fraud, as requested by Mr. Pornpetch Wichitcholachai, vice president of the parliament, on late Thursday night.

The debate on the government’s policy statement started to heat up when Seripisut, the former police chief, took to the floor and began by asking whether Deputy Prime Minister Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has returned his borrowed expensive brand-name wristwatches to their owner.

His taunting of General Prawit over the wristwatch controversy, which made news headlines over a year ago, prompted opposition MPs to lend their ears to the former police chief.

Seripisut then switched his aim to Prime Minister Prayut, saying that he was asked by several constituents to tell the Prime Minister that his premiership post was not arrived at gracefully because it was acquired through election fraud.  He also accused the Prime Minister of being the de facto leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, a political group which engineered the protests to oust the government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra five years ago.

The Seri Ruam Thai party leader’s accusations drew protests from Palang Pracharat MPs who demanded that he withdrew them.

Brushing aside the protests, he went on criticizing the National Anti-Corruption Commission for being incompetent in tackling graft, prompting Mr. Pornpetch to ask the former police chief not to refer to the independent organization.

The atmosphere at the meeting reached boiling point when Prime Minister Prayut rose up to defend himself as he pointed his finger at Seripisut who protested, shouting “Do not point finger at me!”.

The Prime Minister started the debate saying “I have known you (Seripisut) for a long time. We were married on the same day and the weddings were royally sponsored. You were my senior, but today you are not because you never treat me with honor. You have said you will shoot me since those days. If you had shot me that day, you should have been jailed.  You were awarded the Rama medal (Honorable Order of Rama) as was I, but I never boast about it. I have many achievements. Rude and arrogant, you should take a look on yourself.”

After ending his speech, the Prime Minister left the chamber amidst cheers and applause. Then Mr. Pornpetch ordered a 10-minute break.

When the meeting resumed late at night, Mr. Pornpetch asked Seripisut to withdraw his accusations against the prime minister, but he refused to do so and turned to opposition MPs for advice about what to do next.

They suggested he leave the meeting in order to allow the debate to resume.