Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Sunday June 15 that he is not afraid of a censure debate but the debate could not be allowed to be held during the current extra-ordinary session of Parliament. However according to the leader of the democratic party, there is plenty of time.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is well known for his fiery temper when dealing with the media, however to lose it and let loose in front of the senate or parliament provides a very different outcome than a few emotionally bruised journalists.
After becoming Prime Minister, Samak only lasted a few weeks before putting an end to open questioning by journalist because the question they posed were directed at the self serving things the government was doing and also asking when the government was actually going to start working for the people. In other words normal questions that would help provide transparency in the government and to allow the Thai people to see their government at work.
Samak along with other members of the People Power Party (PPP) will need to answer questions without being elusive no matter how uncomfortably direct the questions are. It is suspected that the PPP has no good answers for their deeds of the past 4 months, and most of their deeds were seen as helpful to Thaksin Shinawatra.
At the moment the Democratic party has put forward a motion for a no confidence vote, and a censure debate. The senate has interest in a general debate.
The 61 senators who support the motion for a general debate by the Senate on the country’s problems insisted on Monday June 16 that they would continue with the plan.
The senators said the debate would continue as planned even though Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej hinted he might not show up for it.
However, some senators still expressed hope the premier would appear for the Upper House debate.
“It’s the senators’ right according to the Constitution, and it’s the government’s duty to offer explanations. We are waiting for an official reply from the prime minister. We are still confident that he will come,” said Phetchaburi Senator Sumon Sutawiriyawat.
Pornphan Bunyarataphan, an appointed senator, said she believed the government would offer an explanation to the senators’ queries.
“We are trying to address people’s sufferings, we are not creating trouble. The Constitution allows us and there are no reasons why the government should reject our good intentions,” she said.
Paiboon Nititawan, another appointed senator, said if the prime minister made it clear he would not show up for the debate, the 61 senators would on Thursday meet to discuss further action.
According to Article 161 of the Constitution, one-third of the 150 senators have the right to submit a motion for a general debate in which ministers are expected to provide factual information or explain important problems in connection with the administration of state affairs without a resolution to be passed.
meanwhile on the parliament side of things.
House Speaker Chai Chidchob will have the final say whether the censure debate can happen at this session or the next one, Deputy Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said on Tuesday.
“The opposition’s motion of no confidence will not expire at the closing of the extraordinary House session but the censure debate might be delayed to the next session,” Somchai said.
The House deliberation on the Budget Bill is scheduled to end on June 27 and the next session following recess will start in August.
It is generally believed the house speaker will not allow the actions to move forward as he is a member of the PPP allowing the government to further avoid scrutiny. To that his reply was,
The timing of the censure debate will hinge on whether coalition and opposition whips can reach an agreement on time allocations between the budgetary deliberation and the motion of no confidence, House Speaker Chai Chidchob said on Tuesday June 17.
“Upon receiving the opposition’s motion, I will need just three days for checking and notify the government before proceeding to put the motion on the House agenda,” Chai said.
He played down the allegation that he might side with the government in stalling the debate from taking place.
“I am strictly neutral on the matter of censure debate,” he said.
The priority for the extraordinary House session is the passage of the Budget Bill which will reach the floor for deliberation on June 25-to-26, he said.
If the coalition and opposition whips can agree to squeeze the censure in part of the time slot for the budget debate, then the grilling of the government will take place before the closing of the extraordinary session, he said.