HM the King opens 1st session of elected assembly

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HM The King with Queen Suthida by his side after his address to open the parliament in Bangkok, Friday, May 24, 2019.

Bangkok (AP) — His Majesty the King on Friday addressed the first session of the elected parliament since the March 24 election, advising lawmakers to take their responsibilities seriously because their actions will affect national security and the people’s well-being.

The King wished the ceremonial joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate success as he declared the parliamentary session officially open. Its first major business will be to select the body’s speakers and then a prime minister to lead a new government.

The government’s formation has been complicated by the failure of any single party to win an absolute majority in the 500-seat House of Representatives. The military-backed candidate, Prayuth Chan-ocha, is virtually certain to become prime minister because the vote is jointly taken by both chambers and he has the solid support of the Senate, whose 250 members he helped appoint.

HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn in his brief remarks said it is necessary for everyone to work together “in accordance with principles of law and righteousness.” He was accompanied on Friday by HM Queen Suthida.

Despite being suspended by a court on Thursday, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the new Future Forward Party, attended Friday’s opening and he and his party colleagues in official white uniforms appeared happy and relaxed. He will not be allowed, however, to take part in normal parliamentary activities unless a court finds him innocent of the charge against him. Several other legal cases, which supporters charge are politically motivated, could also disqualify him.

Selection of speakers for both the upper and lower houses will commence on Saturday, and a prime minister is expected to be elected by the end of the month.