Thai Crown Prince opens Parliament

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BANGKOK, Aug 1 – Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on Monday presided over the state ceremony to officially open Thailand’s House of Representatives with 496 new members of parliament attending the event.

The state ceremony took place at the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall in inner Bangkok.

All 496 new MPs out of the 500 maximum number of seats, earlier endorsed by the Election Commission (EC), have registered at parliament.

Prime minister-to-be Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday announced that the Pheu Thai Party members have resolved to nominate long-time MP Somsak Kiartsuranond as House Speaker, saying he was well-experienced and understand well how Parliament functions.

Ms Yingluck said she was confident that Mr Somsak would be able to handle the House sessions with the Democrats on the opposition bench.

Answering a reporter’s question on whether the cabinet lineup will be completed by August 10 or not, the incoming premier said the House Speaker must call a meeting to vote for the new prime minister before a royal command formally appoints the country’s new prime minister.

The Constitution states that at least 95 per cent or 475 of the full complement of 500 MPs must be endorsed before the House of Representatives can be convened. The new Parliament must meet within 30 days of the July 3 election to select a house speaker, and then has another 30 days to choose a prime minister.

The Pheu Thai Party won 265 seats in the July 3 general election, while the ruling Democrat party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva took only 159 seats.