Thailand: PM assures debate won’t be sabotaged

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted the government remains firmly united and that it will not be subject to sabotage in a two-day general debate starting on 17 Feb 22.
  • Although the debate will proceed without a no-confidence vote at the end of the session, the government is politically vulnerable to an attack from some of the 21 lawmakers who used to serve in the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), according to observers.
  • 18 of them have since applied for membership of the Setthakij Thai Party.
  • 3 of them have moved to the coalition Bhumjaithai Party.
  • Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Gen Prayut has instructed cabinet ministers to answer the opposition’s questions during the debate.
  • Even though no vote will be cast in the debate, it will provide a good opportunity for the government to tell the public how it is addressing important problems, according to the spokesman.
  • Looking to a planned no-confidence debate likely to be tabled by the opposition in May 22, Mr Thanakorn said Gen Prayut was free of concerns. In that debate, at least 239 MPs are required by the government to have a House majority.
  • PPRP leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwon reaffirmed the 18 MPs in the Thamanat faction were on the government’s side although he admitted he could not control them. “No matter where they have moved to, they are still coalition members,” said Gen Prawit who is also a deputy prime minister.

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