A group of appointed senators, who previously said they would push for the election of a new Senate speaker and two deputies when the upper chamber convenes its extraordinary session today, seemed to have changed their minds at the last minute yesterday.
“I have had second thoughts on proposing the elections, as the Royal Decree has set a clear agenda and we should not propose any other matters,” Senator Paiboon Nititawan said.
His Majesty yesterday issued a royal command approving a Royal Decree to convene the Senate’s extraordinary session, the Senate Secretariat announced.
The session, running from today to May 10, needs to endorse the replacement of National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) member Jaided Pornchaiya, who has retired, and new specialist members for the Administrative Court Commission.
Appointed Senator Somchai Sawaeng-karn had said earlier that he backed the election of a new speaker and two deputies at today’s meeting, though other senators disagreed.
Somchai said these senators believed that the session should only be restricted to endorsing NACC and court commission members in line with the Royal Decree.
However, Somchai said the election of the new Senate speaker and deputies was necessary because the previous speaker and deputy would continue being paid until they are replaced. The previous speaker and deputy were both elected senators and their terms have expired.
Somchai said the two officials were still being paid because according to the Senate Secretariat’s interpretation of the law, they need to remain in their positions until they are replaced. He added that the new Senate speaker could be elected under the Constitution’s Article 132 (2).
He said he was confident that most of the senators would support his proposal because a new speaker was needed to prevent the disruption of the Senate’s work.
It is speculated that four senators will be nominated to contest for the post of speaker. They are Deputy Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlertchai, who is acting speaker; Suphan Buri Senator Jongchai Thiangtham; Maha Sarakham Senator Srimuang Charoensiri; and appointed Senator Jongrak Juthanon.
Jongrak said yesterday that he was ready to declare his vision if the Senate agreed to elect a new speaker, adding that he was being backed by appointed Senator Wicharn Sirichai-akekawat.