Thailand’s New House Speaker Set To Be Selected on July 4th

The new House speaker’s election is scheduled for July 4, amidst the ongoing deadlock between the Move Forward Party (MFP) and Pheu Thai Party regarding who should get the role.

The House of Representatives’ Secretariat dispatched a letter on Thursday, instructing all Members of Parliament (MPs) to be present for the inaugural House session on the given date.

As per the House’s official website, the session’s agenda includes the election of a speaker and two deputies.

Invitations were distributed to all MPs and senators by Pornpit Petchcharoen, the House of Representatives’ secretary-general, requesting their attendance at the parliamentary opening on July 3, which Their Majesties the King and Queen will oversee.

Wissanu Krea-ngam, the Deputy Prime Minister, declared that the new speaker and two deputies must be chosen within a 10-day window following the parliamentary opening, no later than July 13.

He emphasized the urgency of the speaker’s selection, which only necessitates Lower House majority support, unlike the new prime minister’s election, requiring both MPs and senators’ approval.

Initially, the MFP and Pheu Thai were to negotiate the House speaker assignment on Wednesday, but the MFP deferred the meeting upon Pheu Thai’s insistence on their stand.

Pheu Thai’s leader, Cholnan Srikaew, declared on Thursday that both parties would reconvene on Sunday to deliberate further, coinciding with an eight-coalition party meeting.

“We are the runner-up party [in the May 14 vote], and we respect the first-placed party,” stated Dr. Cholnan, referencing the MFP.

With a victory in last month’s elections earning 151 seats, the MFP, outdoing Pheu Thai by 10 seats, collaborated with them and six other parties to form a prospective 313-member coalition eyeing to form the next government.

“We have put forward our proposal for consideration by the first-placed party. This is not a battle for the [speaker] position. We are not pressuring [the MFP]. We’re only asking for it … We have not received any answer yet,” voiced Dr. Cholnan.

“But if the MFP refuses to give it to us, we have to consider what we should do next. But we insist that this is the principle of a democratic government,” he added.

When asked whether Pheu Thai might withdraw from the MFP-led coalition, Dr. Cholnan emphasized the party’s commitment to the 25 million voters supporting both parties, stressing the need for dialogue to resolve any differences.

Responding to the suggestion of nominating a single House speaker candidate instead of multiple, Dr. Cholnan mentioned that such a discussion would soon take place among the eight parties, expecting all parties to respect the final decision.

Meanwhile, Phumtham Wechayachai, Pheu Thai’s deputy leader, refuted a report about a new power-sharing proposition on Thursday.

According to the proposition, Pheu Thai would forfeit one cabinet position in return for the House speaker role, thereby securing 13 cabinet positions and the speaker role, while MFP would get 15 cabinet seats and the prime minister’s role.

Mr. Phumtham declared Pheu Thai’s steadfastness on its initial proposition, suggesting equal cabinet seat allocation (14 each) to both parties, with the prime minister’s role going to MFP and Pheu Thai assuming the House speaker position.

Chaithawat Tulathon, the MFP’s secretary-general, confirmed the party MPs’ readiness to attend the House meeting on July 4 for the new speaker’s election.

He expressed confidence in a seamless election process, with MFP and Pheu Thai resolving their impasse before the meeting, thereby facilitating the coalition government’s formation.