Calls for open debate on oath bungle

Calls for open debate on oath bungle

Opposition wants 2 days for discussions

A general debate to grill Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha over an incomplete oath is expected to take place next week amid calls for the session to be held openly instead of behind closed doors.

Virat Rattanaset, chief government whip, said the debate is unlikely to be scheduled for this week as originally proposed, and there is a possibility it will be held next week, tentatively on Sept 11 or Sept 12.

The debate has been sought by the opposition after Gen Prayut failed to clarify the issue in the House of Representatives twice.

The premier was accused omitting the final sentence of Section 161 of the charter, which requires the oath-taker to uphold and abide by the constitution, in the July 16 oath-taking ceremony.

The motion for the debate was lodged under Section 152 of the constitution, which allows the House to question and make proposals to cabinet ministers, without taking a vote.

Mr Virat also said the debate on the oath controversy should be held openly because it does not involve sensitive issues and all concerned parties will have to discuss the matter within the constitutional framework.

Moreover, the Office of Ombudsman has forwarded the case to the Constitutional Court for a judicial review, he added.

Pheu Thai MP for Nan Cholnan Srikaew said the general debate should take place next week because the current House session will end in two weeks.

He said government and opposition whips are expected to discuss the date and the length of the planned debate today.

According to Dr Cholnan, the opposition wants two days for the discussions which will address the government's failure to specify sources of funds to implement its policies.

He said while the flood situation is a pressing issue for the government to handle, it should not be an excuse for Gen Prayut not to show up and evade the grilling.

Democrat Party deputy leader Ongart Klampaiboon on Monday expressed confidence that the debate will not have a negative effect on national administration or the government's stability.

"The general debate is part of the parliamentary system. There shouldn't be any problem," he added.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said the cabinet is likely to discuss the motion on the oath controversy today and decide when it will be convenient for the prime minister and the cabinet members to answer the opposition's questions.

"At the general debate, the MPs can do two things, which are ask questions and give advice. So these questions need answers and the best approach is to make sure both sides are ready," he said.

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