Thailand’s Pita still ‘confident’ as House splits on deputy speaker

  • Thailand’s House of Representatives elected Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, the 79-year-old leader of the Prachachat Party, as speaker on Tuesday, another step toward selecting a new prime minister following Monday’s opening of parliament.
  • Wan Noor, who served as speaker from 1996 to 2000, ran unopposed by candidates from parties outside the Move Forward coalition.
  • Nominating the veteran politician was a compromise between Move Forward and Pheu Thai, the two biggest parties, which had been at odds over the key post. The speaker typically comes from the party that places first in the election, but Move Forward on Monday accepted Pheu Thai’s proposal of Wan Noor as a neutral candidate. The Prachachat Party is the third-largest group in the coalition.
  • The House speaker decides which bills are brought to the floor and will oversee the prime ministerial vote. Under the coalition’s memorandum of understanding, Wan Noor’s Prachachat Party reserves the right to oppose policies that are objectionable to its predominantly Muslim supporters, such as marriage equality and liberalization of liquor laws.

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