Coalition whips ask MPs to attend final showdown in Parliament


A deputy chief whip of the coalition on Sunday urged all parties in the ruling coalition to ensure their MPs attend this week’s general debate in Parliament in full force, and do not exit the debate before ministers in the ruling coalition can respond in full to the viscous attacks expected.

Coalition partners should not try to force the debate scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday to collapse by encouraging their MPs not to attend the full debate so that a quorum remains for the government to respond, said Democrat Party MP Chinnaworn Boonyakiat, a deputy chief of the government coordinating committee on parliamentary affairs.

Chinnaworn was commenting on speculation that the Bhumjaithai Party, a key coalition partner, would allow the opposition to grill the government and then have its MPs exit the debate to prevent the government from responding to all allegations against it.

The Bhumjaithai Party is known for its habit of switching to the winning side and is expected to become a member of a Pheu Thai Party-led coalition after the next election, tentatively scheduled for May 7.

Pheu Thai will win the election in a landslide, polls indicate.

The opposition requested and was granted a general debate against the government.

It says it wants to “unmask” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Prayut is described by his followers as a good man.

On Saturday, the opposition announced it has prepared 12 issues to expose Prayut and his ministers, and to batter and bloody the government ahead of the election.

If the debate collapses due to a lack of quorum, the opposition will use this as powerful ammunition to attack the government during its election campaign, Chinnaworn said.

“The government will suffer more. We know what the opposition’s goal is, so all [coalition] parties should cooperate,” Chinnaworn said.

When asked to comment on the speculation that the Bhumjaithai would prevent government ministers from responding to criticism by ensuring not enough MPs are present to meet quorum, Chinnaworn said he had been assured by the Bhumjaithai and Palang Pracharath parties that their MPs would attend the debate in full.

He was assured by Bhumjaithai spokesman Paradorn Prissanananthakul that its MPs would be present to allow ministers, including the prime minister, to respond to what are expected to be vicious attacks.