General Prayut Denies Rumors About Early House Dissolution

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and General Prawit Wongsuwon, his deputy, spoke publicly about whether the House could be dissolved in December, saying it was just a rumor.

General Prayut denied that the government planned to dissolve the House after this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.

When asked about that, the prime minister told reporters: “You’d better ask the rumor mill.”

Speculation spread after the main Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said that General Prayut might implement some stimulus measures during the upcoming holidays to boost the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP)’s popularity, including dissolving the House.

The move could also give MPs enough time to legally switch parties before the 2023 general election.

In addition, the Public Health Ministry Anutin Charnirakul, who is also the leader of the Bhumjaithai Party coalition, joked that General Prayut was planning to dissolve the House on February 31. However, the month only has 28 days next year.

Mr. Anutin explained that only the Prime Minister could dissolve the House but said that he did not believe that remaining in power for five or six months would cause a delay in the government’s work.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai, who also serves as the PPRP’s executive, said he had no reason to believe the House would be dissolved and that there was no indication of any “political accident” that could sink the government.

Another of the officials who spoke about the rumored dissolution of the House was Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who insisted that the government would not face any major obstacles in the near future that could justify the move.

According to Mr. Wissanu, the opposition is going ahead with a plan to launch a general debate as an urgent motion against the government over the recent deadly shooting at a kindergarten in Nong Bua Lam Phu province.

The deputy prime minister said no censure votes or any other risk factor could threaten the government’s survival and that the worst that can happen is a lack of a quorum in the House.

Mr. Wissanu also explained a hypothetical scenario in which the House could be dissolved if two organic laws on deputies and political parties’ election (both are essential to hold a general election) still required interpretation by the Constitutional Court.

The legal expert said the government would not be able to remain in power on an interim basis while the Constitutional Court deliberates on both bills due to a time limit set by law.

But Mr. Wissanu doesn’t think the court, which has already received separate petitions to rule on the two bills’ validity and constitutionality, will take too long to rule.