August 13, 2014 01:00
By Prapasri Osathanon
THE 2015 BUDGET BILL will be the priority law to be considered by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and it must be proposed and passed by the end of September, Senate secretary general Norarut Pimsen said.
The NLA’s next meeting will be scheduled after the president and vice presidents are royally endorsed, she said. But the voting to select the prime minister would have to wait.
Pornpetch Wichitcholchai was last week voted the NLA president, while his deputies are Surachai Liengboon-lertchai and Peerasak Porchit.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), in the meantime will act as the prime minister in submitting the draft budget bill for the NLA’s deliberation.
Norarut said her office had been readied to work as the NLA secretariat. Ad hoc committees, comprising the NCPO, government agencies and outsiders’ representatives, would be set up to deliberate on the budget bill. However, the composition of the committees would be different than in the past, as there would be no representatives of political parties.
“It’s not clear when the voting to select a PM will be scheduled. Let’s wait until the NLA president and vice presidents are endorsed first,” she said.
Admiral Sitthawat Wongsuwan, an NLA member, said the new unelected legislature was authorised to select a prime minister at any time, which might mean before all the regulations governing the lawmaking body were set up.
After the NLA president and vice presidents are endorsed, a committee will be appointed to draft the NLA regulations that stipulate how many committees the NLA needs to examine issues. It will also indicate the guidelines for the selection of a PM.
Article 19 of the provisional charter authorises the NLA to select the PM. It can be done before the NLA regulations are drafted. However, Sitthawat said selection of the PM had not been scheduled yet.
He said NLA whips would be established, with the NLA president as the chief whip. However, the appointed whips would not influence the NLA members as all members had one vote each and did not belong to any political party.