By The Nation Weekend
“All your actions will have a direct impact on national security as well as on the well-being of the people,” King Maha Vajiralongkorn said. “Thus, it is necessary that everyone cooperates in all missions with full capacity, prudence, and in good faith ...”
The King also extended good wishes to those engaged in parliamentary work as well as to the newly elected MPs as well as the senators.
The state ceremony to open the parliamentary term following the March election took place at the Foreign Ministry. In addition to the members of the House of Representatives and Senate, the event was also attended by members of the current government, including Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, and dozens of ambassadors.
Among the MPs was Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who had been suspended from duties the day before.
Dressed in official attire, Thanathorn attended the ceremony, as he still had the right to participate but not to vote after his suspension.
The suspension stemmed from a case involving the timing of Thanathorn’s holding of shares in a media company. The case is before the Constitutional Court, which will decide whether to remove him from office.
Anti-junta protesters gathered in front of Bangkok’s Art and Culture Centre to demonstrate over the legal action taken against Thanathorn.
Led by anti-junta figure Nuttaa Mahuttana, the protesters also vented their frustrations over other political issues, including the treatment of the anti-junta bloc that has gained significant numbers of MPs but may not be able to form a governing coalition.
The activists wore black to reflect their views on the state of Thai politics.
In a related development, the first Senate meeting also took place on Friday. The senators took their oaths of office and selected a speaker and two deputy speakers for the chamber.
Pornpetch Vichitcholchai had been the sole candidate for speaker. General Singhsuek Singhprai and Supachai Somcharoen had also been the sole candidates for the two deputy speaker positions.
Pornpetch was formerly president of the coup-installed National Legislative Assembly; Singhsuek was an NLA member and Supachai had been the president of the Election Commission.