Ex-NLA president Pornpetch named Senate speaker
No opposition as junta-appointed body picks former chief of junta-appointed NLA
published : 24 May 2019 at 19:44
writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Pornpetch Wichitcholchai has been selected as Senate speaker in an uncontested vote for the top job in the upper house.
The former president of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA), Mr Pornpetch was nominated by Senator Suwaphan Tanyuvardhan during the first session for the 250 junta-appointed members held in the auditorium of TOT Plc headquarters.
Gen Singsuek Singphrai, another former NLA member, and Supphachai Somcharoen, a former Election Commission member, were voted in as deputies. Their appointments and that of Mr Pornpetch will become official once they are endorsed by His Majesty the King.
Mr Pornpetch said after the selection that the NLA under his leadership had passed more than 500 laws and all were legitimate. He also stressed the need for the Senate to collaborate with the elected House of Representatives.
The first Senate meeting was held after His Majesty the King, accompanying by Her Majesty the Queen, opened Parliament at the Foreign Ministry earlier on Friday.
The House will convene its first meeting on Saturday to vote for a speaker and deputies.
The two houses with a combined 750 votes will select the prime minister after their speakers and deputies receive royal endorsement. The person chosen to head the government will need a simple majority or 376 votes.
Critics of the junta say they see little likelihood of the 250 senators — whose ranks include more than 100 soldiers and police officers and more than 50 former NLA members — voting for any candidate who does not have the backing of the outgoing military regime.
Mr Pornpetch did not go into the issue during his speech to accept the speaker’s seat. “I do not want to touch on the issue of voting for the prime minister,” he told the chamber.