By Thai Newsroom Reporters
MOVE FORWARD SECRETARY-GENERAL Chaithawat Tulathon said today (July 15) a renewed legislation to rid all senators of the power to pick a prime minister and the repeated naming and voting for one may practically proceed in concurrent fashion.
Chaithawat made his comment after yesterday’s filing of the latest legislation to amend the coup junta-designed constitution’s Section 272 to the extent that the unelected senators be no longer empowered to cast votes for prime minister alongside the elected MPs.
In Thursday’s joint House/Senate meeting, Move Forward leader/prime minister-designate Pita Limjaroenrat obtained 324 yea votes from 311 MPs and 13 senators with 51 votes short of a minimum of 375 as required by law.
Chaithawat said it could probably take three- to-four weeks’ time for legislators to promptly approve the legislation with almost immediate effect to rid the senators of the prime minister-picking role whilst joint House/Senate meetings may be held week in, week out until Pita has secured adequate votes for prime minister.
Such phenomenon at parliament where the legislators are amending the charter’s highly contentious section to turn off the senator’s power to pick a prime minister and the sustained process for the voting for prime minister could practically occur in parallel to each other, Chaithawat said.
According to the Move Forward secretary-general, Pita could practically be named prime minister time and again since there is no legal timeframe for the making of head of a post-election government.
Chaithawat said the Pheu Thai MPs have undoubtedly agreed to the latest legislative bid to turn off the senators’ power which has only been exerted without respect to most voters’ consensus manifested in the May 14 general election which has turned the Move Forward into the No.1 largest elected party, followed by the Pheu Thai as the second largest one.
Similar legislation to keep the unelected legislators from being involved in the business of the elected lawmakers to name and vote a prime minister had been lodged but finally fizzled out in the time of a previous House.
Over 60 senators had earlier approved those legislations to deny themselves the role of picking a prime minister but that came short of a minimum of one-third of the total of senators accounting for 84 in addition to a simple majority of MPs to pass them into law.
Meanwhile, the Move Forward-led coalition partners are yet to discuss “strategies” to take during next Wednesday’s joint House/Senate meeting to name the Move Forward leader for prime minister for a second time whilst the Palang Pracharath leader might probably as well be named one in rivalry against Pita.
Most of the 249 senators, all of whom were handpicked by coup junta-turned-prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Prawit himself, are largely speculated to vote for the Palang Pracharath leader in addition to 188 non-coalition MPs on his side, compared to the Move Forward-led coalition’s 312 MPs.
In case that Pita has repeatedly failed to be voted prime minister or downright outvoted, the Pheu Thai MPs under de facto party boss/deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra might possibly opt out by departing from the Move Forward-led coalition and jumping onto the pro-Prawit bandwagon to immediately turn it around from a minority government to a majority one.
Top: Move Forward leader/prime minister-designate Pita Limjaroenrat next to Parliament meeting chamber.
Insert and Front Page: Move Forward secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon. All photos: Thai Rath