The coast is now clear for the Move Forward Party (MFP) to proceed with having its new leader appointed opposition leader, said House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha.
Mr Wan's remark followed the naming of Chaithawat Tulathon as the MFP leader on Saturday, replacing Pita Limjarorenrat, who quit the party's top post in the middle of this month after being embroiled in a media shareholding case and subsequently being suspended as an MP.
Mr Pita stepped down to pave the way for his replacement to assume the role of opposition leader.
The House speaker said yesterday that procedures dictate that the MFP formally notifies the Election Commission (EC) of its leadership change and the reshuffle of its board executives.
After that, the EC will inform the parliament of the MFP's new leader, and the House speaker will then forward Mr Chaithawat's name for royal endorsement as the new opposition leader.
By law, the opposition leader seat is reserved for the leader of the biggest opposition party.
However, the obstacle preventing the MFP leader from assuming the opposition leader role is Deputy House Speaker Padipat Santipada, who is the MFP MP for Phitsanulok.
The opposition leader cannot come from the MFP as long as Mr Padipat stays as deputy House speaker while remaining an MFP MP.
Under Section 106 of the charter, the opposition leader will be selected from the biggest party in that camp. Its MPs must not serve as cabinet ministers or as the House speaker or deputy speaker.
With Mr Padipat currently serving as the first deputy House speaker, the MFP, which commands the largest number of House seats at 151, cannot legally lead the opposition camp.
Mr Wan said he trusts the MFP would be able to sort out the opposition leadership and the deputy House speaker issue.
Mr Wan added he thought Mr Padipat had performed well as his first deputy.
It was reported the MFP might resort to expelling Mr Padipat from the party so he can move to another party and retain the post of deputy House speaker while the MFP is free to install Mr Chaithawat as opposition leader.
However, the move risked being viewed as a political expedient designed to sidestep legal restrictions.
Mr Wan stressed that everything must comply with the law.
Meanwhile, Adisorn Piengkes, a Pheu Thai MP for Si Sa Ket who serves as chief government whip, said no tactic should be employed to ultimately allow the MFP, through an ally party, to keep both the deputy House speaker and opposition leader posts.
"That would amount to being deceptive and undignified," Mr Adisorn said.