House vote recount blocked by lack of quorum for the second time

Lack of a quorum in the House of Representatives this morning (Thursday) forced House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to call off a recount of the vote, which the Government narrowly lost in the initial round, on the opposition motion to set up an ad hoc panel to study the impacts of pre-election junta orders and executive orders issued under Section 44 of the interim constitution.

It is the second time that a House meeting could not convene due to lack of a quorum. Only 240 MPs were present in the House chamber, 10 short of the minimum required for a quorum. Predictably, Opposition MPs boycotted the meeting to pre-empt attempts by the Government to defeat the opposition motion, initiated by the Future Forward party, in a recount.

Asked who is to blame for the suspension of the House meeting this morning, Mr. Chuan responded You should ask those who did not sign up (attend the House meeting).

The House speaker added that, privately, he didn't want a recount because it is a waste of time, but he had repeatedly asked the government's chief whip whether he really wanted the votes to be recounted and the answer was yes.

This was the first time in the current House session that a recount has been demanded, said Mr. Chuan, adding that he is concerned that this tactic will set an example for the Opposition to apply in the future if they are not happy with the result of a vote on any issue.

A total of 236 MPs, including six from the Democrat party, voted in support of the opposition motion, 231 opposed it. The six Democrats were Thepthai Senpong, Panit Vikitseth, Mrs. Kantawan Tanthien, Chaivuth Bannawat, Sathit Wongnongtoey and Anwar Sarleh. 18 Government and 15 Opposition MPs were absent from the vote.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm claimed it was not necessary for the Government to answer to any House committee regarding the exercise powers under of Section 44 of the interim constitution.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)