Move Forward’s deputy House speaker will not back down
The first deputy House speaker Padipat Suntiphada said on Friday that he will not resign from his position to enable the next Move Forward leader to act as opposition leader.
He made the comment after Pita Limjaroenrat announced his resignation as leader of the Move Forward Party on Friday. Pita explained that the Constitutional Court’s order to suspend him from MP duties due to a media-shareholding case prevented him from acting as opposition leader.
Padipat said the election for the next Move Forward executive committee will be held on September 24, explaining that the tenure of the executive committee will expire once the party leader steps down.
He said he will discuss with the new executive committee if he has to be expelled from Move Forward to keep his post as deputy House speaker. Padipat is also a member of the party’s executive committee.
He described his dilemma as a “constitutional limitation” that was unique to Thailand.
This limitation should not exist because he had received a majority of votes to become deputy House speaker, Padipat said.
He said it would be up to Move Forward to decide if he had to be expelled from the party, adding that he will do his best to carry out his duties. He also expressed confidence that his party will make a decision that will benefit the country, not just itself.
Move Forward has the right to lead the opposition because it is the largest opposition party.
Pita will likely be replaced as Move Forward leader by either party secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon or MP Sirikanya Tansakun, observers say.
Chaithawat has taken important roles in Move Forward, such as negotiating its attempt to form a governing coalition and seeking support from the Senate. Sirikanya has played important roles in the Parliament, including in a censure debate against the previous government led by former Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, proposing new laws, and providing advice on administrative issues and budget expenditures.