House consideration of reconciliation bill postponed upon chaos

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BANGKOK, 30 May 2012  – Chaos broke out during Parliament’s deliberation of the National Reconciliation Act today, causing the meeting to be put on hold and rescheduled for tomorrow. 

An extraordinary meeting of Parliament today was presided over by House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont. The meeting involved discussions over 4 drafts of the National Reconciliation Act. Opposition MPs voiced their suspicion that the bill might be linked with attempts to return 46 billion baht in frozen assets to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The meeting’s atmosphere became tenser when opposition MPs proposed that the consideration of the National Reconciliation Act be rescheduled. Pheu Thai MPs countered that the consideration could instead be temporarily put on hold. Arguments over whether or not the session should be rescheduled took place for almost half an hour. Chaos erupted when Democrat Party MPs, led by Mr. Apichat Supapang, rushed to pull House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont from his seat. This resulted in Pheu Thai Party MPs rushing to protect Mr. Somsak.

Parliament police officers were called in to prevent the two sides from clashing. The House Speaker called for an end to the meeting at 19.35 hrs and rescheduled it for tomorrow at 09.00 hrs.