Thailand: Opposition walks out to protest attempt to recount votes

  • The opposition staged a walkout on Wednesday to protest against the government camp’s attempt to recount the votes in Parliament after a shock defeat.
  • All opposition MPs left the chamber following the decision by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to order a recount after the government bench lost a vote to set up a committee to study the impact of the use of Section 44 by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order.
  • The opposition edged the ruling camp by four votes — 234-230 — on the motion to set up a panel to scrutinise Section 44. Two MPs decided to abstain and one did not vote.
  • Government chief whip Wirat Rattanaset proposed to the House speaker that the ballots be recounted due to the close call but his opposition counterpart, Sutin Klansaeng, strongly opposed the move.
  • The opposition decided to leave the floor after Mr Chuan decided to recount the vote, leaving Parliament short of the 250 MPs needed to start the procedure.
  • Pichet Chueamuangphan, a Chiang Rai MP for the Pheu Thai Party, asked Mr Chuan to count the members in the chamber and found only 92 MPs in the lower house.
  • Mr Chuan adjourned the meeting until Thursday.

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