Move Forward party expels its House speaker MP
The Move Forward party has opted to expel its MP and First Deputy House Speaker Padipat Suntiphada, saying that the move would allow the party to "completely" take over as leader of the opposition.
The statement released by the party on Thursday indicated that Move Forward would make every effort while on the opposition bench to put forward its progressive laws and to become government after the next election, with its head, Chaithawat Tulathon, named as opposition leader.
The progressive party said in the statement that such a move would disallow its MP from taking any speaker posts, as this was contradictory to Section 106 of the present Constitution. The law restricts any MPs from the party leading the opposition to acquire ministerial or speaker posts.
During a talk with Move Forward executives, Padipat declared his intention to keep serving as the speaker since he had numerous policies to advance in the role, the statement said.
The meeting amongst the party’s MPs and executives then decided to expel Padipat so that he could maintain his resolve and give Move Forward the opportunity to “completely” take over as the opposition leader, according to the statement.
Padipat has to join a new party within 30 days, as mandated by the Constitution, in order to keep his status as speaker and MP.
Earlier, two Move Forward allies—Fair and the Thai Sang Thai Party—expressed their willingness to welcome Padipat if he is expelled.
The Fair Party's secretary-general, Kannavee Suebsang, said on Wednesday that “all doors are open” for Padipat to work with the party.
Many political analysts believe that the step is a tactical one that would enable Move Forward to adopt both positions.
In a previous interview with The Nation, Stithorn Thananithichot, a political scientist at King Prajadhipok's Institute, expressed his disagreement with Move Forward's decision to remove Padipat, saying that doing so would undermine the party's essential values of being straightforward.
However, the decision sparked both agreement and criticism among the party’s backers.