Small pro-government parties to vote independently after censure debate

Eleven small pro-government parties have opted out of a meeting of coalition parties, scheduled today (Saturday) and tomorrow, to make preparations for the defence of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and nine other ministers to be censured by opposition MPs in the parliament on Monday until Thursday.

Dr. Ravee Matchamadol, a party-list MP and leader of Palangdham Mai party, said today that MPs of the small parties will vote independently and not follow the resolution of the coalition parties, because their obligation is to the public interest, not the vested interests of individual ministers.

He said opposition MPs’ speeches against individual ministers should be concise and straightforward, with less rhetoric and without any reference to the monarchy, otherwise they would protest.

He admitted, however, that, due to the government’s majority in the House, it is not possible for the opposition to muster sufficient votes to censure any minister, adding that the small parties, who command about 20 seats, will vote in support of the opposition if their arguments are credible and backed up with solid evidence against alleged mismanagement or irregularities by any minister.

The small parties, most of which have one party-list seat each in the House, include New Economics, Palang Thongthin Thai, Rak Puen Pa, Palangdham Mai, Palang Thai Rak Thai, Prachatippatai Mai, Khru Thai Pua Prachachon, Polamuang Thai, Prachapiwat, Palang Chart Thai and Prachatham Thai.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cholanan Srikaew, opposition Pheu Thai MP for Nan province, said today that the opposition parties will focus their debate on the mismanagement and alleged corruption of government and its ministers, as well as the alleged use of the monarchy as a shield.

He alleged that, in recent weeks, the government has tried all legal means and political games to undermine or discredit the opposition, citing the legal challenge against the constitutionality of the opposition’s motion to rewrite the Constitution.

Although Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and some ministers have announced that they are not worried about the censure debate, Cholanan claimed that the government had assigned some government MPs to plead with the opposition not to be too harsh on some of the ministers during the debate.

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