11 July 2024

Thailand’s parliament is scheduled to convene for a special session tomorrow (Monday) for two days of debate on the current political situation and related issues, in a bid to work out a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Mr. Prasert Chantharawongthong, Secretary-General of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, said today that they will field about 20 speakers in the debate, including Party Leader Sompong Amornvivat.

Opposition MPs have been allocated eight hours of debate time.

He said that his party will focus on the demands of the anti-government protesters, the alleged obstruction of a Royal motorcade and COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, however, that the party will not mention reform of the monarchy, but will leave that to the Kao Klai Party, adding that the party will consult the Parliament President as to whether discussion on this sensitive issue should be held in closed session.

Meanwhile, pro-monarchy demonstrators have urged members of the public to gather in front of Parliament tomorrow, to oppose an Opposition proposal to set up a parliamentary panel to discuss reform of the country’s monarchy.

The group, named Centre of People to Protect the Monarchy, plans to submit an open letter to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai, voicing their disagreement with the Opposition’s proposal.

Mr. Nanthawat Samart, former Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Agency, voiced his strong disagreement with the Opposition’s proposal, saying that some anti-monarchy opposition MPs will use this forum to criticize the revered institution under parliamentary immunity, while HM the King has no direct right to reply.

He said the Opposition is employing a two-pronged approach to pressing Prime Minister Prayut into stepping down. One is to use Parliament to attack the Prime Minister and the other is to use anti-government protesters as their proxy.

He said that the general debate in Parliament, due to start tomorrow, would be pointless if the Opposition only focuses on pressing for the resignation of the Prime Minister.