Thai Parliament to Close Forever New Year’s Eve

A parliament in session in a 2016 file photo.

BANGKOK — The House of Parliament will close its doors for good New Year’s Eve as part of a plan to relocate the legislative seat of power to a new riverside location, an official said Wednesday.

Staff are scheduled to clear the 44-year-old building of any belongings by Dec. 26, deputy house speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai told reporters. A farewell party will also be held that day, Suracha said.

The new parliament building – a massive complex designed to resemble a temple – is being constructed in Kiak Kai, a neighborhood that also houses many military facilities. The project, approved back in 2008, has cost about 23 billion baht.

Surachai said construction is expected to finish by June 2019, and lawmakers are currently planning to rent conference halls for sessions to be held after the current building shutters. He named the United Nations building and Thammasat University auditorium as possible options.

The parliament website lists no further sessions to be held in its final weeks.

The parliament in Dusit district opened in 1974 as Thailand’s second legislative assembly building. Parliament meetings were previously held in Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall and, very briefly, at the Royal Turf Club Racecourse.

Future plans for the location of the old building have yet to be announced.