23 May 2024

The opposition Pheu Thai Party’s MP Chirayu Huangsap challenged Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today (Friday) to dissolve the House of Representatives after many government MPs and ministers missed House meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, resulting in a lack of a quorum.

During a press conference at parliament this morning, the Bangkok MP said that the absence of a large number of government MPs at the two meetings reflects a lack of stability and factionalism within government parties.

He said that only about 300 MPs, out of about 500, reported their presence at the meeting this morning, adding that opposition MPs will discuss whether they should demand a headcount to determine whether the meeting in the afternoon has a quorum.

Democrat MP Chinnavorn Boonyakiat, a deputy government chief whip, admitted today that the lack of a quorum at the two House meetings and the throwing of rice on the floor of the parliament chamber by a Pheu Thai MP have painted a negative image of the House as a whole.

He reminded all MPs that they must be accountable to their constituents by performing their duties in parliament and that includes attending parliamentary meetings.

Chinnavorn also said he will meet with Nirote Sunthornlekha, the new government chief whip and Palang Pracharat MP of Nakhon Sawan, to discuss ways to convince government MPs to attend meetings, to restore a good working atmosphere and order in the House.

Nirote claimed that the meeting on Wednesday did not collapse, as alleged by the opposition Pheu Thai party, adding that Deputy House Speaker Suchart Tancharoen called off the meeting at 5pm after he realised that a number of MPs appeared to be tired following a daylong meeting to deliberate three bills.

The new government chief whip asked for sympathy for the MPs, saying that not all of them are strong enough to attend a meeting for more than eight hours straight.

He also explained that the absence of so many government MPs on Thursday, including several ministers, was a technical error, because a cabinet meeting was held on the same day, following the prime minister’s return from the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, the United Kingdom.

Nirote took over from Wirat Rattanaseth, who recently ended his role as an MP after the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders accepted for trial the futsal court corruption case, in which Wirat and 86 others, mostly headmasters and other educational officials in the north-eastern region, are being prosecuted.