MPs to tackle oath gaffe next month
House too busy now, says Supachai
A parliamentary debate on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's oath blunder will likely occur next month, said Deputy Parliament President Supachai Phosu.
The parliament office has checked the debate motion filed by the opposition and confirmed it has been correctly submitted and signed by enough MPs, he said.
It is now up to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai to fix a date for the debate, which will proceed without a vote. Mr Supachai added the debate will likely last one day.
He explained the session could not be scheduled this month because parliament will be tied up with hosting the 40th General Assembly of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly from Aug 25-30.
He dismissed Pheu Thai Party chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan's remark that the inter-parliamentary assembly should not stand in the way of the debate.
He explained the assembly must be organised smoothly for the sake of the country's reputation and that the parliament president and his deputies will be busy welcoming the delegates.
Opposition chief whip Suthin Khlangsaeng said the bloc will ask for a two-day debate at which 15 opposition MPs will speak.
Gen Prayut, meanwhile, said he understood that people are interested in hearing him explain the oath issue.
"It's important, I know. But the debate must be well-organised," he said.
The premier said he realised the public was paying attention to the controversy but added he is too preoccupied with work to explain. The opposition has accused him of trying to evade parliamentary sessions on the matter.
Activist Srisuwan Janya alleges Gen Prayut may have violated Section 161 of the charter by failing to recite the oath's final sentence in parliament on July 16, namely the vow to uphold and abide by the constitution.
Mr Srisuwan formally petitioned the Ombudsman to forward the matter to the Constitutional Court or the Administrative Court.
Dissathat Hotrakit, the prime minister's secretary-general, said on Tuesday Gen Prayut has received a letter from the Ombudsman calling on him to provide a written defence.
Also on Tuesday, Ombudsman chief Viddhavat Rajatanun said his office was still gathering facts in the case and waiting for Gen Prayut's defence. Those facing such a petition normally have between 15 and 30 days to reply.
The case will be discussed at a meeting on Aug 27.