Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prince opens new Thai Parliament

Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn reads a statement at the opening ceremony of the first session of Thailand's new Parliament in Bangkok. REUTERS

BANGKOK - Thailand's Crown Prince opened a new Parliament yesterday that will usher in a new government led by the sister of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Lawmakers dressed in white uniforms attended the ceremony at a royal hall led by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Thaksin's youngest sister, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, is expected to be elected Prime Minister by early next week.

Yingluck Shinawatra

Ms Yingluck, 44, has promised the sort of populist policies that made her brother so popular: A big increase in the minimum wage, credit cards for farmers and tablet computers for school children. 

Political reconciliation is on the agenda, though critics claim it would be implemented mainly to rehabilitate her brother and allow him to return to Thailand without fear of legal consequences. Thaksin was accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect to the throne when he was in power.

The 500-seat Lower House will convene this morning and elect the House Speaker and two deputies. The Constitution required the House of Representatives to convene with at least 475 MPs, or 95 per cent of the 500-seat Lower House, within 30 days of the election. The Election Commission certified all but four of 500 winning candidates in the July 3 vote. 

The Puea Thai party, which won the highest number of MPs, has resolved to nominate Khon Kaen MP Somsak Kiatsuranont for the post of House Speaker as proposed by Ms Yingluck. The resolution was passed at a meeting of the Puea Thai executive committee yesterday morning.

The party also agreed to nominate Chaiyaphum MP Charoen Chankomol as First Deputy Speaker and Phayao MP Wisut Chainaroon as Second Deputy Speaker.

The Puea Thai Party resolved to appoint party secretary-general Charupong Ruangsuwan as the government manager, party leader Yongyuth Wichaidit said.

Mr Yongyuth said Mr Charupong will liaise between Puea Thai and the other parties in the coalition on policies and the formation of the Cabinet. However, Mr Charupong will not take part in selecting individuals for Cabinet portfolios.

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party has resolved not to nominate candidates for the posts of House Speaker or Deputy Speaker.Caretaker party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said the coalition parties, led by Puea Thai, already had an absolute majority.

If an opposition party other than the Democrats decides to nominate candidates to compete with Puea Thai, the Democrats would abstain from voting, he said.

If no other opposition party fields candidates, Puea Thai would fill the three Speaker posts without competition. Agencies

Photo Album of Yingluck Shinawatra Thailand’s First Women Prime Minister 

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