The official inauguration of the new parliament is anticipated to occur within 15 days, following the Election Commission’s (EC) endorsement on Monday of all 500 MPs selected during the general election on May 14.
The constitution’s Section 121 stipulates that the inaugural meeting of the parliament should be held within 15 days from the date the EC validates at least 95% of the MPs-elect.
An informant disclosed that the process of picking the new House speaker and their two deputies is projected to happen on the first day of the new parliamentary session.
However, the selection of Thailand’s upcoming prime minister will not be underway until the House speaker’s appointment receives royal consent.
The task of selecting the House speaker will be planned post the official state opening of parliament, signifying the commencement of the new parliamentary year, the informant mentioned again.
The 500 MPs-elect ratified by the EC on Monday represent 67 parties, with 400 MPs selected in the constituency system and 100 via the party-list system.
This endorsement was contrary to earlier media narratives, suggesting that 71 MPs-elect across 37 constituencies could potentially be suspended due to allegations of election fraud.
EC’s secretary-general, Sawang Boonmee, revealed that the EC chose to validate all MPs-elect since they concluded that rushing their investigations into the election complaints and finalizing them within the allocated 60 days wouldn’t maintain fairness for all parties involved.
According to Mr. Sawang, Section 138 of the 2018 organic law on the election of MPs still grants the EC the power to continue examining these complaints up to a year after their receipt.
In case the EC gathers enough proof to believe an MP was involved in an election fraud as charged, they retain the right to appeal to the Supreme Court to strip them of their eligibility to participate in an election and cast their vote, he explained.
Mr. Sawang assured that all MPs accused of election fraud will be allotted sufficient time to refute these charges, ensuring fair justice for them as well.
When asked if the EC would seek the Constitutional Court’s view on MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat’s alleged election disqualification, despite endorsing his MP status, Mr. Sawang stated the EC’s committee is still investigating.
The EC is under significant pressure from multiple senators to request the court’s decision on whether Mr. Pita’s former ownership of 42,000 shares in iTV Plc disqualifies him from running in the election right from the start.
Mr. Pita has steadfastly maintained that he was merely executing his late father’s estate, which included these shares.
Reports indicate that the MFP leader transferred these shares just last month.
Mr. Sawang affirmed that the EC won’t let its duty to investigate allegations against Mr. Pita become entangled with politics.
Hence, the timing of the conclusion of this investigation, in relation to the selection of the country’s new prime minister, is not a matter of concern for the EC.
“In the way we work, all facts deemed necessary for the ongoing investigation must be completely extracted first … and even if the process has to be expedited later, it will still have nothing to do with politics,” he stated.
Mr. Pita, the only prime ministerial candidate of the MFP, is predicted to be the subsequent prime minister.
All MPs that have received the EC’s endorsement can collect their letter of endorsement from the EC from today until Saturday.
Mr. Sawang mentioned that this document should be presented to the Secretariat of the House of Representatives when reporting for the first time as a newly elected MP.
According to Pornpith Phetchareon, secretary-general of the House of Representatives, the new MPs can start reporting to the House from today.