Tuesday talks could help clarify Speaker issue

Tuesday talks could help clarify Speaker issue

Eight coalition parties to jointly discuss way forward, while former speakers say age is irrelevant

Photo: Parliament
Photo: Parliament

The eight-party alliance led by the Move Forward Party (MFP) hopes to have a clearer idea about the selection of the House Speaker after a meeting on Tuesday, according to MFP deputy leader Natthawut Buapratum.

The talks on Tuesday will take place at the Prachachart Party headquarters, he said on Saturday.

The meeting will focus on the future direction and collaborative work plan for the coalition, in line with the memorandum of understanding that the members signed on May 22.

Disagreements over the selection of a speaker have dominated the headlines this week. Move Forward, which topped the polls in the May 14 election, wants the post to ensure that its ambitious legislative agenda can get passed. Second-ranked Pheu Thai maintains that it should have the position.

Some Pheu Thai supporters have even said the party should walk away if it does not get its wish, which would sink the coalition. 

Move Forward leader and prime ministerial candidate Pita Limjaroenrat on Friday said he was confident the issue could be resolved through negotiations involving all eight parties. He issued a call for unity, saying any disagreements the allies have are “a trivial matter compared to the task entrusted to us by the people".

Mr Natthawut, meanwhile, dismissed rumours that he was being considered for the position, saying no internal discussions regarding the matter have taken place within the party.

He added that the selection of the House Speaker would be determined through negotiations involving all parties, and a consensus is necessary.

Meanwhile, former deputy House speaker Somsak Prissanananthakul expressed his view that Move Forward deserves to lead the lower House, considering its election victory and qualifications.

Mr Somsak also questioned whether Pheu Thai, if it had won the most seats in the election, would have granted the House Speaker’s position to another party.

In response to comments suggesting that Move Forward members are too young and inexperienced for the role, Mr Somsak, 72, said the position requires intelligence and wit, with age being irrelevant.

However, he acknowledged that a vote in Parliament would likely favour the long-standing Pheu Thai Party.

Former speaker Uthai Pimchaichon also shared his perspective, highlighting that traditionally, the House speaker has been a member of the ruling party to help drive policies.

He emphasised that the speaker should act as a conductor of the House of Representatives, effectively guiding necessary proceedings and maintaining order on the floor.

When asked about the relative inexperience of MFP members, he noted that he himself had served as a member of Parliament for only two years before being entrusted with the speaker's responsibility.

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