PM urged to rectify oath text 'gaffe'

PM urged to rectify oath text 'gaffe'

Omission 'puts govt's legitimacy at risk'

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is being urged to correct a mistake over an alleged failure to recite the full text of an oath during the swearing-in ceremony. (Bangkok Post photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is being urged to correct a mistake over an alleged failure to recite the full text of an oath during the swearing-in ceremony. (Bangkok Post photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is being urged to correct a mistake over an alleged failure to recite the full text of an oath during the swearing-in ceremony, as he risks calling the legitimacy of his government into question.

Future Forward Party secretary-general and list-MP Piyabutr Saengkanokkul brought the matter to light during the recent parliament debate on the government's policy manifesto.

According to the opposition MP, Gen Prayut, who led the cabinet in the swearing-in ceremony on July 16 prior to taking office, did not vow to protect and abide by the constitution, which is the final paragraph in Section 161 of the charter. Questions are being raised as to whether the cabinet is legitimate and can perform its duty.

Jade Donavanik, former adviser to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), said the prime minister's alleged incomplete oath has become an issue, because governments operate under constitutions.

Under the constitutional monarchy, the government is sworn in to protect three pillars; the institution of the monarchy, the people, and the constitution. Gen Prayut's oath is missing the third pillar, he said. Mr Jade said he did not think Gen Prayut deliberately omitted this section, but the government should not ignore the opposition's criticism and must address the issue to avoid legal complications.

According to Mr Jade, critics may bring the issue to the Constitutional Court for a ruling, and if the prime minister's oath-taking is found to be incomplete, the government and its work could be voided.

Mr Piyabutr urged Gen Prayut to make a bold move by admitting the mistake and figuring out how to fix it.

"If he lets the oath taking remain incomplete with an important part missing, future prime ministers may make up their own oaths without complying with the charter," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam appeared to avoid commenting on the issue when asked by reporters. In a media interview this week, Mr Wissanu said the cabinet underwent the oath-taking process and declared its policies before parliament. He also declined to say if Gen Prayut would seek a royal pardon over the alleged incomplete oath.


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