His Majesty the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen, presided over the ceremony at Vithes Samosorn Hall at the Foreign Ministry to officially open Parliament after five years.
Senators, MPs and disgitaries atten the opening ceremony of Parliament. (Post Today photo)
In his opening royal statement, the King called on all parliamentarians to perform the best of their duty with responsibility for the benefits of the public and the country in order to move Thailand forward.
The ceremony will be followed by the opening of the Senate later on Friday to select the upper house speaker and his or her deputies. On Saturday, the first meeting of the House of Representatives will be held to choose the House speaker and his or her deputies at state-owned TOT Plc's head office on Chaeng Wattana Road in Bangkok.
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit also joined the opening of Parliament after the Constitutional Court voted on Thursday to suspend him from performing his MP duty after it accepted a case against him over possible disqualification involving his shareholding in V-Luck Media Co.
"I can confirm that I'm still an MP. Today was the ceremony, not a session for MPs to perform their duties," he said before attending the event.
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit leaves for the Foreign Ministry to attend the event. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)
It remains unclear whether he will be allowed to attend the lower House's first meeting on Saturday.
"The acting House speaker [Chai Chidchob] will decide whether I will be allowed to attend," he said.
Mr Chai, the most senior MPs, will chair the House of Representatives' first session to elect the new speaker and their deputies.
Construction of the 23-billion-baht new Parliament house is years behind schedule, forcing parliamentarians to move from place to place for their meetings.
"The new parliament will be ready for use probably late next year," Pakpoom Srichamni, president of Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Plc, the project’s contractor, told Bloomberg News. He said the handover of necessary land was delayed.
The design of the new riverside building is based on Buddhist cosmology, with a golden spire-like structure as the centrepiece to promote moral character among politicians. Its name, Sappayasapasathan, means the place to carry out good deeds.
Construction began before the most recent military takeover in 2014. The 424,000-square-metre parliament is expected to be one of the world’s largest administrative buildings.
The old parliament house closed down as the compound reportedly had to be returned to the Royal Household Bureau.
Mr Pakpoom said Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction plans to seek as much as 3 billion baht in compensation from the state for delays, once the project is completed.