Thailand: House panel vote ‘no sign of rifts’

  • Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam played down rumours about a conflict between coalition partners after a vote for who would become the chairman of a new House committee responsible for scrutinising the two organic election laws currently being amended.
  • Democrat Party deputy leader and Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha were chosen to head the committee, beating Paiboon Nititawan, deputy leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), by just one vote.
  • Mr Wissanu said the matter was not a conflict although it indicated something was out of place because the issue of the chairmanship should have been finalised earlier by the coalition partners.
  • He also pointed out that PPRP list-MP Wichian Chawalit, who co-submitted the amendment bills, was not on the committee, which suggested the coalition parties did not hold talks on the issue.
  • Mr Wissanu responded with a “yes” when asked if coalition parties would have to improve their work in parliament, but he declined to say more.
  • He was concerned the issue could affect the government’s stability. However, he did not bring it up with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
  • The proposed amendments to the two organic laws passed their first readings in parliament last week to reflect the constitutional changes that accommodate the reintroduction of the dual-ballot system.

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