Move Forward MP for Phitsanulok Padipat Santipada reiterated his desire to remain deputy House speaker on Wednesday, and said the party’s new executive board was expected to discuss the issue soon.
Mr Papidat said the matter could not be resolved until the Move Forward Party (MFP) made a decision on taking up the role of opposition leader in the parliament. As an MFP member, his eligibility to be first deputy speaker was directly related.
He expected to discuss this issue soon with MFP leader Chaithawat Tulathon and the new executive committee.
“A decision on the post of first deputy House speaker does not rest with me. Other factors, including a resolution by the Move Forward Party, must be taken into consideration too. As for speculation the party will use this to expel me from the party so I can keep the post of deputy speaker, I want to hear it first with my own ears.
"So far it has just been talk from other people,’’ Mr Padipat said.
The constituency MP said he did not feel under any pressure, even though members of the government whip had asked the MFP to take only the one position. Any decision he made would not be to cling on to benefits for himself. It would be for the good of the country and the people, he said.
Asked whether a timeline for his decision would be the next parliamentary session, he said the timeline depended on the MFP.
However, if he refused to make a decision on the issue, no opposition leader could be appointed. The planned talks would discuss this issue in detail, he said.
Asked whether he wanted to continue as deputy speaker, Mr Papidat sighed before replying. He then said he wanted to continue in the job because there were several tasks awaiting him, such as ensuring the transparency of parliament. He wanted to accomplish his mission.
Under Section 106 of the constitution, the opposition leader is appointed from the biggest party not in government. Its MPs cannot serve as cabinet ministers or as House speaker or deputy speaker.
With Mr Padipat serving as first deputy speaker, the MFP cannot legally lead the opposition camp despite commanding the largest number of seats in the House, 151.
Mr Chaithawat was elected MFP leader on Saturday, replacing Pita Limjaroenrat, who still faces a court challenge to his eligibility and stood aside in the middle of this month to allow his replacement to take on the role of opposition leader.
There has been repeated speculation Mr Padipat could be expelled from MFP as a tactic to allow him to join another party and retain the deputy speaker's position. The Fair Party, which has only one MP, has expressed a willingness to take him in. MFP could then benefit from having a sympathetic deputy speaker chairing meetings in the House.