6 opposition parties seek to oust Prayut

6 opposition parties seek to oust Prayut

Say PM has 'caused irreversible damage'

Sompong Amornvivat, leader of the Pheu Thai Party and opposition leader
Sompong Amornvivat, leader of the Pheu Thai Party and opposition leader

Six opposition parties on Wednesday issued a joint statement demanding Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's resignation mainly over his alleged failure to manage Covid-19 outbreaks.

The parties accused Gen Prayut of failing in his public administration work and causing irreversible damage to the nation.

Sompong Amornvivat, leader of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, read the joint statement demanding Gen Prayut step down immediately. Apart from his inability to run public administration, he also fell short of the task of effectively handling the Covid-19 outbreaks and in maintaining peace in society. The bloc insisted the resignation would pave the way for a "professional government" to take over, said Mr Sompong.

The country has reached a point where most members of the public now agree with the opposition's call for Gen Prayut to resign and be replaced by someone else who is honest and knowledgeable. The opposition will today or tomorrow submit to the National Anti-Corruption Commission a petition seeking to oust Gen Prayut, said Mr Sompong. And if Gen Prayut still refuses to budge and tries to cling to power until the end of the new parliamentary session, he will witness the public's reaction, said Mr Sompong.

Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the opposition Move Forward Party, said not only does Gen Prayut have to go, but also the constitution, which he described as being the current government's anchor for power. Mr Pita suggested the government leave office, a caretaker government be formed to handle the Covid-19 outbreak and rewrite the charter, and parliament be dissolved to allow for a general election as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, Jade Donavanik, a legal scholar and former adviser to the Constitution Drafting Committee, said if the government were to resign, the constitution still required the cabinet to continue working in a caretaker role while parliament selects a new prime minister from the list of prime ministerial candidates nominated by political parties.

In this case, there are only two candidates to choose from: Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Abhisit Vejjajiva who is a former party-list MP of the Democrat Party. The constitution also allows 250 senators to take part in parliament's selection of the new prime minister, said Mr Jade.

In his opinion, the opposition's call for an abrupt change of government is not technically or constitutionally possible. There is no option except to follow current parliamentary procedure. That, however, does not appear to be what the opposition wants to do. "What it actually wants is to become the government," he said.

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