Cabinet to consider recalling parliament to defuse political crisis

Cabinet to consider recalling parliament to defuse political crisis

Prayut backs convening special session

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha answers reporters' questions at Government House on Monday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha answers reporters' questions at Government House on Monday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

The cabinet will on Tuesday discuss recalling the parliament in specal session to ease the escalating political conflict as protesters demand the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Gen Prayut said on Monday the cabinet will discuss the question of a special parliamentary session at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, after he said for the first time that he supported the idea.

The prime minister is under pressure from members of parliament to use the parliamentary process to resolve the conflict.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said on Monday that leaders of political parties from both sides of the chamber would unite in calling a special meeting if the government passes up the opportunity.

He did not say which parties from the government camp would support the move.

“The government supports the opening of a special parliamentary session,” Gen Prayut said.

Lawmakers have called for the House, which is in recess, to be recalled, to move the political conflict from the streets to the parliament.

The prime minister appeared to soften his stance against the protests on Sunday after previously urging people not to take part in the rallies because they were in breach of the state of emergency declared in Bangkok, which bans gatherings of more than four people. 

Gen Prayut on Monday counselled demonstrators not to break the law and damage state and public property. The government hoped for peaceful rallies and would try to avoid using force, he added.

Protests calling for his resignation have gathered pace, in Bangkok and the provinces, since student leaders and activists were arrested and water cannons used to disperse a peaceful rally in Bangkok on Friday night.

Police put the number of protesters at various rallies around Bangkok on Sunday at 20,000, but estimates by organisers and the media were several times that.

The cabinet can ask His Majesty the King to issue a royal decree to convene an extraordinary session. It can also be recalled if one-third of lawmakers from both houses support a motion for a special session.

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