Prayuth, Prawit, 4 Others Face No-Confidence Censure

A file photo of Prayut Chan-o-cha and Prawit Wongsuwan.

BANGKOK — The opposition said Friday it is sighting its gun on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and four other ministers for the first no-confidence debate in nearly seven years.

In a formal letter submitted to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai today, the censure motion named a total of five Cabinet members as targets of the opposition’s scrutiny when it convenes for the debate, which – in theory – could see them ousted from office.

Apart from Gen. Prayut, they are Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Krea-ngam, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, and Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao.

Long lists of reasons for launching a no-confidence motion against the six were detailed in the three-page letter submitted to Chuan. Prayut was accused of “not having faith and adhering to democratic system with the King as the head of state” and allowing widespread corruption under his watch.

“[He] used his power in his positions to benefit himself and his peers and underlings. Taking side with evil people without consideration to national interests and the wellbeing of the people,” the letter stated.

Deputy PM Prawit stands accused of dishonesty, corruption, and amassing an unusually large wealth.

Don is charged with being “ineffective” and failing to serve the country with ethics. Wissanu is accused of interfering with the justice system, Anupong of interfering with works of government officials, and Thammanat of lacking qualifications to serve as minister.

House Speaker Chuan will take a few days to decide when the censure debate will take place, though the day is expected to be around mid or late February. A no-confidence debate typically lasts three days.

If more than half of the total MPs, or 251 out of 500, voted on a no-confidence against any minister, he or she will have to resign. If the target is the prime minister, the entire Cabinet will have to leave, dissolve the House, and call for a snap election.

The showdown will take place without involvement from the Senate, where nearly all members were handpicked by Prayut when he served as the junta leader.

Prayut earlier this week expressed confidence that he can answer all allegations. He said his Cabinet members are prepared for the debate.