Ignoring parliament

16 03 2010

Yesterday PPT noted Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s patchy record on elections. Despite this, he had maintained a claim that parliament was the place to discuss and debate national issues. Some Democrat Party MPs had complained that too many MPs failed to attend parliamentary meetings.

Today, however, the Democrat Party effectively snubbed parliament. The Bangkok Post notes that “House Speaker Chai Chidchob about 9am on Tuesday ordered the postponement of the joint parliamentary meeting [he had called] due to lack of a quorum.” Only about “80 MPs and senators were reported to have shown up at the joint sitting.” Most of the MPs were from the Peua Thai Party.

It was reported that “Democrat MP Suthas Ngernmuen said after the closure of the meeting that Democrat MPs did not attend the joint sitting this morning because they were concerned that the parliamentary session could lead to violence as the red-shirts might consider they were being challenged by the coalition.” That’s not even a disguised untruth. The prime minister already said that none of his party knew why Chai called a special meeting but assumed it was somehow “political” and that Democrat Party members would not attend. “Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat said the failure to attend the joint sitting by MPs of the coalition parties was in line with the resolution of the government whips.” They feared opposition MPs could use the session to support red shirts. There are also rumors like these. Would they be challenged and even thrown out?

No doubt many of the Democrats are still at the beach, but Boonjong made the ludicrous claim that the red-shirts rally prevented the government and the parliament performing their duty, but said the situation would be only short lived.” Read that in many ways.

The government leadership, ensconced with the military, surrounded by the brass when they make speeches and announcements, using a barracks, flying in and out on military helicopters, is looking increasingly like nothing more than a military-backed regime.

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