Gov’t Hints at Closed Session for Royal Oath Debate

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures at reporters on Sep. 5, 2019, at the Ministry of Defense.

BANGKOK — The government said Monday that parts of an upcoming parliamentary debate on PM Prayuth Chan-ocha’s failure to complete his swearing-in oath may be held behind closed doors.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said the government whip may request a closed session if “sensitive” topics are discussed during the debate, which is set to open Sep. 18. Wissanu declined to elaborate on what those sensitive materials might be.

“It’s up to the government whip, and up to what is being said at that moment,” the deputy PM said. “We’ll have to know first what questions will be asked. If we feel the questions are sensitive, then we will request a secret meeting only at that point.”

Read: King Tells Prayuth to Abide by His Oath


Wissanu also downplayed concerns about holding a parliamentary debate away from media cameras, saying it’s not something entirely new.

“We have held secret sessions many times. It’s normal,” Wissanu told reporters at Government House. “For example, when there are issues that are sensitive or which risk referencing people outside [Parliament].”

He added, “But if the criteria are not met, then there won’t be a need for [a secret session.]”

The opposition has accused Prayuth of breaching the constitution by skipping a sentence in his swearing-in oath – “I will also uphold and comply with the Constitution of the Kingdom in every aspect” – that he took in front of His Majesty the King on July 16.

Prayuth has repeatedly refused to explain the omission, but maintains he did nothing wrong.


“It was completed,” Prayuth said on Sep. 4, “What do they want from me? I don’t understand.”

Twenty opposition MPs are lining up to question the retired general over the oath on Sep. 18. The entire session is expected to last 14 hours.

Asked today how he is preparing for the confrontation, Prayuth replied, “I’m using my time to solve the flood instead.”