Chuan rejects last-minute bid to cancel Opposition debate

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has dismissed a last-minute bid, by a Palang Pracharat MP, to ditch

today's Opposition debate against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on the grounds that it may

contradict the Constitutional Court's recent rejection of a petition challenging the constitutionality of

the Prime Minister's incomplete oath recital.

Before the start of the long awaited debate, which will not feature a concluding vote, Nakhon Sawan MP

Veerakorn Kamprakob asked Mr. Chuan whether the debate could conflict with the Constitutional

Court's order.

In response, the House Speaker said he had already consulted legal experts, who concurred that the

debate could proceed and was not unconstitutional because the charter court's decision was not a

verdict.

Mr. Chuan's explanation was challenged by another Palang Pracharat MP, Ms. Pareena Kraikupt, who

stood up to protest, but she was cut short by the House Speaker, claiming that an MP could not object

to a clarification.

He said that he would be held accountable if the debate is deemed unconstitutional and he warned all

MPs to stick to the meeting rules, not to read from documents unnecessarily and to stick to the point

while debating.

The opposition has decided to cut the debate short and end it at about 6pm, instead of midnight as

earlier scheduled, because many government and opposition MPs and cabinet ministers will attend an

important Royal religious ceremony, being held at the Dusit Palace, to pay homage to the late King

Bhumibol Adulyadej and to express good wishes to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother.

Opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng said the religious ceremony is important and the opposition

will have to adjust the timing of the debate, but all 15 MPs lined up to grill the Prime Minister will still do

their job, albeit in a shorter form.

The government's chief whip, Wirat Rattanaseth said, however, that the debate must end at about 4pm

at the latest.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)