House knocks back FFP coup-study panel plan

House knocks back FFP coup-study panel plan

The House of Representatives has voted down a motion to form a committee to study ways to prevent future coups.

The House voted 242 to 215 with two abstentions on Thursday to drop the motion sponsored by Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul.

Before the vote was cast, Mr Piyabutr thanked the 47 MPs who gave their signatures to endorse the motion.

He insisted military coups were the root cause of political crises. They were staged to break impasses in national administration in place of democratic means. What ensued was social division and the destruction of legitimacy in elections and accountability.

The coups, especially the two previous ones in 2006 and 2014, have failed to forge the principle of liberal democracy or build public trust in the country's functions.

Mr Piyabutr added the coups would not have been possible without the support of state officials, the legal experts who helped draft the laws to safeguard the coup engineers, the MPs, the businesses and the media. He said the coup prevention committee would lend dignity to parliament by showing that it does not give in to the coups.

"If the MPs shoot down this motion because they are afraid of offending [the coup maker], then I have a question to ask. Are we representing the people or are we just subordinates of the top brass?" he said before the vote on the motion.

Mr Piyabutr said earlier that lawmakers should work on preventing coups by amending the Criminal Code so people can declare damages caused by a coup or giving people the right to oppose them.

Wirach Ratanasate, chief government whip, said it is impossible to prevent a coup. The coupmakers will not give a signal of what is coming and the strategies to stage a coup will change.

Mr Wirach said he is pro-democracy but considering the result of the vote, the MPs would have to accept criticism for failing to support the panel.

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