Opposition graded higher than government for performance at Parliament debate
Academics on Friday gave higher marks to the opposition for their performance at the just-completed general debate of the House of Representatives, during which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was the main target of attacks.
Asst Prof Chettha Subyen, secretary-general of the Social Science Association of Thailand, gave a score of 7 out of 10 to the opposition and 5 to the government.
He said that Cabinet members targeted in the debate had failed to give clear answers to the allegations against them, while the opposition MPs taking the floor were focused more on wooing votes.
The same scores – 7 for the opposition and 5 for the government – also came from political analyst Assoc Prof Sukhum Nuansukul, who is a former rector of Ramkhamhaeng University.
He, however, said that opposition MPs had focused on the government’s “old wounds” and not levelled any new allegations, while the government had a lot of weaknesses that were vulnerable to attack from the opposition.
“General Prayut failed to offer clear and concrete answers to the opposition allegations,” Sukhum said. He gave a score of 8 to the overall two days of debate.
Sukhum said that opposition MPs appeared to be focusing too much on trying to woo voter support by repeating old allegations to attack the government. He said he was convinced that voters had made their choice and the opposition approach was unlikely to change their minds.
Chettha, who is also assistant to the president of Navamindradhiraj University, made specific observations about the performance of MPs from two major opposition parties – Pheu Thai and Move Forward.
He said that while Move Forward went all-out to attack PM Prayut, Deputy Premier Prawit Wongsuwan, and Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, Pheu Thai appeared to spare Prawit. “We could see hints of who is going to connect with whom” in forming the next government after the election, the academic said.
It has been rumoured that Pheu Thai has reached a secret deal with the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, which is led by Prawit, to form a post-election coalition.
Chettha also said that during the two-day debate, PM Prayut appeared to be alone in fending off opposition allegations, without the usual intervention from Palang Pracharath MPs.
Prayut, who was the ruling party’s sole prime ministerial candidate in the previous election in March 2019, joined a new party called Ruam Thai Sang Chart (United Thai Nation) in January and is expected to be its sole PM candidate at the next polls.