23 May 2024

Thailand’s opposition parties’ bid to hold a debate on the executive decree, delaying the enforcement of some provisions of the Act for the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance today (Tuesday), was foiled when government MPs submitted a motion seeking a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of the decree.

About 100 government MPs signed the motion, to be submitted to the Constitutional Court by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai within three days. As such, the debate on the decree was pre-empted.

Chinnavorn Bunyakiat, a Democrat MP and deputy government chief whip, said that government MPs have the right to ask for the charter court’s ruling, to clear up any doubts over the legitimacy of the executive decree.

The move by government MPs drew flak from the opposition and Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew.  He said that the move shows that the government was afraid that the executive decree would be ditched in the House.

He said that, since the decree was initiated by the government, it should be the opposition which asks the charter court to rule on its constitutionality, not the government.

With the decree to be considered by the court, the enforcement of the Act for the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance will be delayed until October 1st, pending a ruling.

Without the debate, the House Speaker thanked all the parties concerned throughout the past four years of working together. He said that, even though not all the MPs in the House today will return to parliament after the next election, he wished that those who do return will carry on with their work.

“There is nothing permanent in politics. People on the opposition side today may be on the government side tomorrow and the government now may be in opposition,” said Chuan.

Then the secretary-general of the parliament, Pornpit Petcharoen, read out a Royal Command to announce the closure of the second parliamentary session of the year, effectively starting the countdown to a General Election.