Anutin dismisses dissolution report
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Monday brushed aside speculation about an early House dissolution, saying the government still has enough support from coalition MPs to survive a no-confidence motion.
He was responding to comments by some opposition figures that said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha may decide to dissolve the House rather than face a no-confidence debate which the opposition wants to hold in May when parliament reconvenes.
"The authority to dissolve the House rests with the PM. It is up to him to make a decision. It doesn't matter what other people think," he said.
He also expressed confidence that there will be enough MPs to support the government in a no-confidence debate. However, he denied a report that at least 260 MPs would back the government.
"I can only guarantee that Bhumjaithai MPs will, I cannot vouch [for other parties]. I only believe that the government can secure enough support because as a coalition government, we still command a majority in the House anyway," Mr Anutin said.
Rawee Matchamadol, leader of the New Palang Dharma Party, also said he believed the PM will not dissolve the House as suggested by the opposition.
He also dismissed a report that some MPs from micro-parties were being offered 30 million baht each to vote against the prime minister in the no-confidence debate.
"I'm confident MPs from small parties will not be lured and bought."
Sutin Klungsang, chief opposition whip and deputy leader of the Pheu Thai Party, said the opposition bloc on Monday discussed debate preparations.
Members agreed a motion be tabled immediately after parliament reconvenes, though it remains to be seen whether there will be other urgent parliamentary matters by that time.
If deliberation of draft amendments to the laws related to the election of MPs are not yet finished, the opposition will have to reconsider when to submit the no-confidence motion, Mr Sutin said.