By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A WEEKLY MEETING OF THE House of Representatives was again adjourned due to lack of a quorum today (August 11) after opposition MPs had called in vain for a fresh motion to discuss a legal controversy over Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s eight-year tenure.
Deputy House Speaker Supachai Bhosu adjourned the House meeting with only 124 MPs attending, far short of half the total of performing MPs currently accounting for 239 to make a quorum.
Today’s lack of a quorum in the House followed that in yesterday’s joint House/Senate meeting on the highly-complicated amendment to an electoral system as part of the constitution’s organic law pertaining to the future election for MPs.
Pheu Thai MP Suthin Khlangsang and Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome called for House floor debate on Prayut’s eight-year time in power which is maximumly provided by law and might probably end on August 24.
But Palang Pracharath MPs almost immediately rose in protest and called for the House meeting to proceed as scheduled and skip the unscheduled motion.
As the deputy House speaker was telling the MPs on both sides of the parliament chamber’s aisle to vote whether the unscheduled motion would be allowed for House floor debate, many coalition MPs slipped out to force the lack of a quorum.
Suthin said the legislative branch could shed some light on the legal controversy and give advice for Prayut to take into consideration with respect to clauses of the constitution pertaining to the maximum number of years for the premier to remain in power. He said the issue has been quickly gaining momentum and widely raised the attention of the people as the date in question is approaching.
Rangsiman said the executive branch is being faced with a political crisis since members of the public are needing to know whether the current Prayut government could legally perform beyond August 24. He suggested the premier accept the fact that his eight-year tenure is ending on that date in accordance with the constitution.
But Palang Pracharath MP Attakorn Sirilatthayakorn contended that the legislators do not have the duty to deal with such a legal issue involving the maximum number of years in power for the army chief-turned-premier and that it would only be determined by the Constitutional Court.
Prayut rose to power by way of a coup which he orchestrated as army chief and named himself head of a military-installed government in 2014 and was named head of a post-election government following a general election in 2019.
According to the 2017 constitution, one’s tenure of premiership or other cabinet posts starts from the year in which he or she may have begun to run the country either before, during or after the year in which the charter was promulgated.
A meeting of the House of Representatives at parliament. Top photo: Matichon Weekly, Front Page photo: NNT