Thai opposition parties will submit a motion to the House Speaker in mid-November, seeking a general censure debate on the government, without a vote, to “grill” it over illegal gambling and drug abuse issues and to offer recommendations to the government.
Opposition and Pheu Thai Party Leader Chonlanan Srikaew said that he expects the censure debate to take place in the middle of December, which he admitted might not be the optimum timing, as people would be in a festive mood ahead of Christmas and New Year and might not pay attention to the debate.
He pointed out that, if the opposition does not seize the opportunity now, they might miss the chance altogether, because Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha might dissolve the House after the APEC Summit in Bangkok next month, before the end of its term.
There is also speculation that the prime minister might dissolve the House on December 24th, said Chonlanan, adding that, according to assessments of the political situation, the Pheu Thai Party believes that there is an 80%-90% chance that the House will be dissolved before the end of its term.
The reason for the House dissolution would be to take advantage of the prevailing political situation, if the government believes it would have the upper hand in the subsequent general election, said the opposition leader.
Regarding the Bhumjaithai Party’s Cannabis Bill, which is to be returned to the House for its second and third readings, Chonlanan made clear that the party’s position is that cannabis must be used for medical purposes only.
He also said that the bill still contains several loopholes, which may pave the way for the non-medical use of cannabis. If the bill is not further amended, he warned that the party may demand additional changes to each section or may vote against the bill entirely.
The party does, however, support the Progressive Liquor Bill, initiated by the Move Forward Party, and disagrees with any attempt to scuttle the bill in parliament.