Chaos in the House

No punches were thrown, but there was plenty of scuffling as Democrat MPs tried to force the House Speaker out of his seat and Pheu Thai MPs tried to keep him there. The issue: National Unity.

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Chaos erupted in parliament Wednesday as opposition Democrat Party MPs protesting the reconciliation bill encircled House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont to demand that he leave the chamber. CHANAT KATANYU

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MPs brawl in unity bill chaos

House speaker faces impeachment petition


MPs scuffled in parliament Wednesday after House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont was accused of serving ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra's interests.

The House of Representatives erupted into chaos when Mr Somsak cut short the opposition's protest and called for a vote to decide if reconciliation bills should be moved to the top of the agenda.

Democrat MP Thana Chirawinit approached Mr Somsak's bench and criticised him for serving Thaksin.

"Is there a Dubai stamp on the hammer [you're holding]? Are you serving someone? What is the rush about? We MPs serve the people and do our job. Who are you to block us?" he said, referring to Thaksin, who lives in self-exile in Dubai.

A group of Democrat MPs then joined him. Some went up to Mr Somsak's bench to demand that he relieve himself from duty. Pheu Thai MPs rushed to block the opposition as about 40 parliamentary police officers surrounded Mr Somsak.

The stand-off went on for 10 minutes before Mr Somsak called for a short recess and left the chamber under tight protection.

During the recess, scuffling broke out between female Democrat and Pheu Thai MPs.

Democrat MPs Rangsima Rodrassami and Kantawan Tantian tried to remove the House speaker's chair. Pheu Thai MPs Prengmanee Rengsomboonsuk and Khattiya Sawatdiphol blocked them.

Rumours spread that Ms Khattiya was slapped by Ms Rangsima, but both women denied that.

Tension eased when Wisut Chai-arun chaired the meeting after the recess. The meeting was adjourned without a vote. If the House agrees Thursday to move up the bills, their first reading is expected to be held on Tuesday.

Mr Somsak was the target of boos and jeers throughout the tense three-hour debate.

Earlier in the session Democrat MPs held up signs translated roughly as "Stop the bogus reconciliation and No to whitewashing the cheats." CHANAT KATANYU

The Democrat Party will petition the Senate Thursday to seek Mr Somsak's impeachment.

Tension started when Democrat Jurin Laksanavisit questioned the status of the bills, which were marked as urgent. He was concerned that the bills could be classified as money-related, citing a possibility that seized assets worth 46 billion baht could be returned to Thaksin if his wrongdoings were later absolved.

"At least General Sonthi [Boonyaratglin], who proposed the bill, must be asked if assets will be returned to anyone," Mr Jurin said.

Mr Somsak ruled that the bills were of urgency and he had the power to make decisions on the issue. This triggered the chaotic scenes.

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chaos – a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess การจราจล
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น
opposition – of a political party that is not part of the government ฝ่ายค้าน  
protest – to make a strong complaint or disagreement ประท้วง
reconciliation – the process of creating a new and friendly relationship again with someone you argued with or fought with การปรองดอง
bill – a proposal for a law ร่างกฎหมาย
encircle – to surround somebody/something completely in a circle  ล้อมรอบ
House Speaker – the person who is in charge of most of the activities of the House of Representatives ประธานสภาผู้แทนราษฎร
chamber – a room used for the particular purpose ห้อง, ห้องผู้พิพากษา, ห้องสำนักงานทนายความ
brawl – to fight in a rough, noisy, uncontrolled way ทะเลาะกัน,วิวาท
unity – a situation in which people, groups, or countries join together or agree about something ความเป็นเอกภาพ, ความเป็นอันหนึ่งอันเดียวกัน
impeachment – the process of formally accusing a public official of a serious crime relating to their job การกล่าวโทษเจ้าหน้าที่รัฐว่าทำผิดศีลธรรมหรือจรรยาบรรณ
petition – a request of someone in authority to do something คำร้อง
scuffle – to get involved in a short and sudden fight, especially one involving a small number of people ต่อสู้กันอุตลุด
ousted – forced out of a position of power ขับออกจากอำนาจ
interest – an advantage or benefit to someone or something ผลประโยชน์
House of Representatives – the main lawmaking body in Thailand สภาผู้แทนราษฎร
agenda – a list of things that people will discuss at a meeting  ระเบียบวาระ
criticise – to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด
hammer – in this case a gavel, a small hammer used by a person in charge of a meeting or an auction, or by a judge in court, in order to get people's attention ค้อนเล็กที่ใช้ในการประมูล, ค้อนเล็กสำหรับทุบโต๊ะของผู้พิพากษาในศาล
rush – to move or do something very quickly รีบเร่ง, วิ่ง
self-exile –  a situation in which you willing (i.e., without being forced) live in a foreign country because you feel you cannot live in your own country, usually for political reasons การลี้ภัยอย่างสมัครใจ การถูกขับออกนอกประเทศอย่างสมัครใจ
relieve from duty – to stop doing a job
block – to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else  ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง
surround – to be everywhere around someone/something; encircle ล้อมรอบ
stand-off – a disagreement or fight in which neither side can do anything to win การทะเลาะวิวาท ความขัดแย้ง
recess – stopping what you are doing for a short period of time การพัก
tight – very strict and firm  เข้มงวด, กวดขัน, เคร่งระเบียบ
break out – (of something bad) to start เริ่มต้นทันที
rumour – a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true ข่าวลือ
slap – to hit with the flat part of the hand ตบ
tension – the feeling of being so nervous or worried that you can’t relax  ความตึงเครียด
ease – to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious บรรเทา
adjourn – to temporarily end something such as a meeting or a trial ปิด (ประชุม)
target – a person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack เป้าหมาย
boos – expressions of strong disapproval or disagreement  คำอุทานแสดงการเหยียดหยามการไม่เห็นด้วย, โห่ฮิ้ว
jeers – shouting or laughing at someone in an unkind way ตะโกนด่า เสียดสี
tense – feeling nervous or worried เครียด
bogus – a not real, although pretending to be การแปลกปลอม
Senate – one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand วุฒิสภา
status –position or condition สถานะ
urgent – needing to be dealt with immediately ที่เร่งด่วน
concerned – worried about something   มีความกังวล
cite – to mention something as an example กล่าวถึง
seized assets – money or property which have been officially taken away from someone, often by a court order ทรัพย์สินที่ถูกยึดหรืออายัด
absolve – to state formally that somebody is not guilty or responsible for something  ปลดเปลื้อง, อภัยโทษ
propose – to suggest an idea for a group to consider เสนอ
issue – a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
trigger – to cause ก่อให้เกิด กระตุ้น 

Related search: Chaos in Thai parliament over reconciliation bill

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Online Editor of Learning & Education