BANGKOK, May 24 (NNN-TNA) – Thailand’s new parliament formally opens Friday (May 24) after March’s general election
Exactly two months after the general election, Parliament will select its new speaker on Friday and subsequently hold a session to vote for the next prime minister on Saturday.
The pro-junta Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) who is viewed as the strongest contender to lead the coalition formation held a meeting of its MPs on Thursday. But all key members including its leader Uttama Savanayana were all absent, leading reporters to speculate negotiations with potential allies.
The undecided Bhumjaithai, Democrat, Chartthaipattana and Chartpattana parties accounting for 116 MPs have been focal points of Thai politics. They have not made clear whether to join the PPRP amid criticisms over intense negotiations on Cabinet portfolios.
Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul and Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit have dismissed rumours on setting up a government and negotiations over Cabinet seats.
Meanwhile, Mingkwan Saengsuwan on Thursday announced his resignation as leader of New Economics Party which has allied with the anti-junta bloc led by Pheu Thai Party.
His resignation has been widely seen as a possible defect from Pheu Thai.
The Pheu Thai’s seven-party block also faces another setback when the Constitutional Court accepted a petition seeking disqualification of the leader of Future Forward Party (FFP), Thanathorn Juangrungruangkij.
The outspoken businessman-turned-politician has been accused of violating the Constitution by owning shares of a media company. The Election Commission last week requested the court to rule on the matter.
While pending the court’s ruling, Thanathorn is barred from performing his duty as MP and, in effect, will not attend Parliament on Friday. The judges cited possible complications over his status.
On Friday, the Senate and House speakers will be elected before being submitted for royal endorsements. And on Saturday, the House speaker is to call a joint meeting of the two houses to vote for the Prime Minister from among the candidates.