Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has expressed dissatisfaction with the House speaker and his deputy for their performance in the no-confidence debate.
The de facto leader of Pheu Thai Party expressed his disappointment via Skype at a Pheu Thai Party meeting Wednesday, despite the fact that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and three cabinet ministers comfortably survived the no-confidence vote.
According to party sources, Thaksin said that Pheu Thai representatives who participated in the debate were too weak _ particularly when Democrat Jurin Laksanavisit wrapped up the opposition's allegations on Tuesday night.
"The chairs of the meeting [House speaker and deputy] were a bit too weak sometimes," Thaksin was quoted as saying.
Several Pheu Thai MPs voiced agreement with Thaksin's criticism.
"The chairs didn't have to take our side but they shouldn't accommodate the opposition," said one MP at the meeting. "They might think it is okay not to allow us to protest and speak because we are from the same party. That's wrong."
The sources said Thaksin was dismayed that deputy House speaker Charoen Chankomal and House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont allowed Mr Jurin to raise new allegations when he wrapped up the debate, giving the government no chance to defend itself.
Thaksin was also unhappy with the party's female MPs, who he felt did not close ranks around his sister Ms Yingluck when she was challenged by an opposition MP.
Thaksin was referring to a remark by Phusadee Tamthai, a member of the opposition who called on the prime minister to take action against Pheu Thai MP for Surin Prasit Chaisrisa, who made a sexist remark during the debate.
Ms Phusadee said that as a woman, Ms Yingluck should condemn Mr Prasit's behaviour: "If someone said he dreamed about sleeping with the prime minister, would she stand for it?" Ms Phusadee said in the debate.
Mr Prasit was accused of sexual harassing Democrat MP Rangsima Rodrassamee.
During the particularly heated exchange, Mr Prasit retorted, "What would Ms Rangsima say if I said that in my dream I slept with her?".
Thaksin, referring to Ms Phusadee's remark, said: "Our female MPs didn't react when the opposition made a remark about someone dreaming that he slept with the prime minister."
Thaksin, however, said that overall the government did a fine job in the no-confidence debate and asked the party MPs to remain strong.
He also called on the MPs to work harder and visit their constituencies after internal polls suggested declining popularity ratings. He threatened not to field them in next elections if there was no improvement, sources said.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday thanked some members of the opposition who voted in support of the government in the no-confidence vote.
"We thank Bhumjaithai, Matubhum and Rak Thailand for seeing eye to eye with the prime minister who has the most votes of confidence," he said.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will review the allegations made against the rice-pledging scheme during the censure debate before deciding if it will launch a criminal inquiry or a bid to oust the ministers accused of culpability.
A petition was filed yesterday with Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich seeking the removal of six Democrat Party MPs for allegedly breaching Section 158 of the constitution during the censure debate.
The petition was signed by 200 Pheu Thai MPs led by Pirapan Palusuk.
Targeted for removal in the petition were Nakhon Machim, Warong Dejkijwikrom, Sathit Pitutecha, Ratchada Thanadirek, Wilas Chantarapithak and Nipit Intarasombat. The petition alleged that the six opposition MPs spoke about matters that were not listed as topics for the no-confidence motion.
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- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth