‘Minority government’ would be ‘hell on Earth’, Pita warns
Both the Move Forward and the Democrat parties have criticised a suggestion from the ruling party that the next government could be formed by a minority of elected MPs with support from unelected senators.
Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the opposition Move Forward Party, said a government comprising a minority of the 500 MPs in the House of Representatives would be “like hell on Earth”
Ongart Klampaiboon, deputy leader of the Democrat Party, said such a government would be unworkable.
They were responding to comments made on Wednesday by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. He said that the May 14 election could result in a government led by a party that does not have the most seats in the House of Representatives.
Under parliamentary systems, minority governments are commonplace. They generally require the party that wins the most seats to gain the support of MPs from at least one more party to pass legislation.
In Thailand, however, the term “minority government” is being used to describe a scenario in which a party that fails to win the most seats in the Lower House turns to the unelected Senate for support.
Ongart said on Saturday that Wissanu’s statement was theoretically plausible but impracticable.
Political parties will rush to acquire more than half of the seats in the Lower House when election results are released, he said.
If a political party tries to rely on support from the Senate to form a government, the subsequent administration will be unable to function, Ongart said.
The Constitution does not require the next government to have the support of more than half of the Lower House’s 500 MPs. It is required, however, to win 376 votes from both chambers. The Senate has 250 members.
A minority government could not survive for very long since it would fail to have enough support from MPs to pass necessary legislation, like the budget bill, Ongart said. This would lead to a no-confidence vote against the government, he explained.
He also warned that any political party that used Senate support to form a government would lack legitimacy and could spark riots that would lead to further turmoil.
“A minority government is, therefore, improbable,” Ongart said.
After facing intense criticism over his remarks on Wednesday, Wissanu said on Saturday that he is praying that the election delivers a majority government.
“I pray for a majority government to be set up for the sake of peace, stability and sustainability,” he told reporters.