BANGKOK – Thailand’s newly formed National Legislative Assembly met for the first time on Thursday (Aug 7) in a 15-minute inaugural ceremony presided over by the Crown Prince and broadcast nationwide.
Since the bloodless coup in May, the military government has been the sole authority for all matters regarding the state. And before then, Thailand had been without a parliament since it was dissolved last year, when former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra had stepped down.
Consisting of 200 members, the Assembly’s largely dominated by the military’s top brass. More than half are retired or active soldiers, while the rest are civil servants or academics. Each position has been appointed by the military government, although not without some teething problems. Three members have already stepped down after investigations revealed they were ineligible for the posts due to prior political bans.
The ceremony was held at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall near Parliament. The Assembly reconvenes on Friday (Aug 8) and it is widely speculated that a house speaker will be nominated then.
A number of pressing issues are expected to be discussed in the coming weeks. The 2015 budget is high on the agenda, as well as the appointment of the 250-member National Reform Council tasked with overhauling Thailand’s legal system. There is also a list of 12 outstanding laws that the head of Thailand’s military government, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, says needs approval. But most importantly, all eyes are on the appointment of a full cabinet and Thailand’s next prime minister.