Democrats petition PM; seek closure of House session


BANGKOK, June 5 – Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party lawmakers petitioned Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday, calling on her Cabinet to issue a draft royal decree closing the current House session to defuse political standoff.

Democrat MPs Peerapan Saleerattawipak, Sansern Samalapa and Chuenchob Kongudom submitted a letter to the premier via the PM’s Deputy Secretary-General Prasit Chaiviratana, reasoning that closing the Parliament was the only solution to the current political crisis stemming from controversy over the reconciliation bill deliberations in the lower house.

Mr Peerapan said that he has been assigned by the opposition chief whip to submit the complaint letter to the premier as the ongoing turmoil was likely to continue as a result of the consideration of proposed reconciliation bills.

If the House session continues, the Democrat MP said, it will be the beginning of a conflict which will be later intensify and escalate.

Mr Peerapan added the only solution to the problem is to close the House session to ease political tension.

The opposition whip also urged the MPs who earlier proposed reconciliation drafts to withdraw their drafts from house consideration.

The premier’s deputy secretary-general said he would urgently forward the issue to the prime minister but said there were still some issues needing to be deliberated in the House, including the international cooperation framework under Article 190 of the Constitution requiring parliamentary approval prior to signing any international treaties and agreements.

Parliament will be closed eventually, he said, but there is also a working process before that.

The prime minister also worried over the differing views on the matter, according to Mr Prasit.

The Democrat move came as the government chief whip on Monday asked the House Speaker to call a joint parliamentary sitting on Friday to discuss Section 190 of the Constitution so that senators and members of the lower House may together decide whether or not the Constitution Court has authority to order the House to suspend deliberations on the charter amendment bill.

House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont earlier decided to cancel June 5-7 parliamentary sessions following last week’s chaos in the chamber.

Today the House had been scheduled to vote on the third reading of the draft constitution amendment and consider the international cooperation frameworks under Article 190, but the vote could not proceed after the Constitution Court decided to consider the legality of the draft.

The House Speaker earlier cancelled the reconciliation bills debate last Friday as yellow shirt activists of the people’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) blocked lawmakers access to Parliament but was set to reconvene the House of Representatives Wednesday and Thursday (June 6-7) to consider the bills.