New Senate Speaker, Acting Caretaker PM, and an Appointed PM
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New Senate Speaker, Acting Caretaker PM, and an Appointed PM

The Bangkok Post:

The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) is demanding the heads of key independent organisations push for the nomination of new prime minister, a move the pro-government red shirts insist is legally impossible.

PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday called on the Constitutional, Supreme Court and Supreme Administrative Court presidents, the Election Commission chairman and the Senate speaker to work out a plan for the appointment of an interim government under Section 7 of the constitution.

The protest leader claimed that after former premier Yingluck Shinawatra was disqualified by the Constitutional Court last Wednesday, there was no one left with the authority to act as caretaker prime minister.

Mr Suthep insisted Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan, who has been appointed acting caretaker prime minister by the remaining members of cabinet, lacks the legal status to lead the caretaker government.

He claimed Mr Niwatthamrong still held only his former status of caretaker deputy prime minister.

Because there is currently no House of Representatives, Mr Suthep insisted the Senate has the power to select a new prime minister.

Speaking before kicking off a major red shirts demonstration on Utthayan Road in Phutthamonthon area, Mr Jatuporn said the PDRC plan was based on conflicted logic and would be impossible to implement if the anti-government group does not recognise the authority of Mr Niwatthamrong.

To have a new prime minister appointed, the Senate speaker must be the one who submits the nomination to His Majesty the King for endorsement, he said.

But Deputy Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlertchai, who was nominated as senate speaker in a vote on Friday night, is not royally endorsed and is therefore not authorised to submit a prime ministerial nomination to His Majesty.

Under the constitution, it is the prime minister who must submit Mr Surachai’s nomination for royal endorsement.

Given the PDRC’s rejection of Mr Niwatthamrong’s premiership, the submission of the Senate speaker’s royal endorsement is impossible. If there is no Senate speaker, the Section 7 appointment of an interim government is also impossible, Mr Jatuporn said.

The UDD leader also said the selection of the Senate speaker on Friday may have violated the charter, and the endorsement could be stalled by a legal challenge.

“The post of the Senate speaker is not filled,” he said.

BP: BP does not always agree with Jatuporn, but the whole Suthep/Appointed Senator plan doesn’t work. Others do too

The Bangkok Post again:

Protesters who want to delay the July 20 election until reforms can be carried out say that as acting caretaker premier, Mr Niwatthamrong lacks the prerogative to submit the royal decree on the election to His Majesty the King for endorsement.

If Mr Niwatthamrong cannot submit the election decree to His Majesty, he won’t be able to submit the Senate speaker’s appointment to the King as well,” said Mr Nikom

2007 Constitution:

Section 124. The House of Representatives and the Senate shall each have one President and one or two Vice-Presidents who are appointed by the King from the members of such House in accordance with its resolution.

Rules of Procedure of the Senate, B.E. 2551 (2008):

Rule 9. After the President and Vice-President have been elected, the Secretary-General of the Senate shall inform in writing the Prime Minister for further presentation to the King.

BP: Hence, if Acting Caretaker PM Niwatthamrong is not deemed to have the powers of a PM, for example, to submit a royal decree on the elections as the PDRC argue then he does not have the power to submit the name of Surachai to the King for appointment as Senate Speaker. Therefore, there is no Senate Speaker who can nominate an Appointed PM.  If Acting Caretaker PM Niwatthamrong does have the powers of a PM and can submit the name of Surachai to the King then you cannot then argue he does not have such powers later. Regardless, Puea Thai will likely seek a Constitutional Court interpretation on the Senate Speaker election in the first place because the royal decree opening the Senate was narrowly written and didn’t include voting on a Senate Speaker. So come Monday BP doesn’t see we will have a Senate Speaker so am unsure how Suthep’s goal can be fulfilled.

btw, one of the people Suthep wants involved is the EC Chairman Supachai, but on October 7 after the Court decision he stated, as per INN, that the end of the status of the caretaker PM does not impact on the organization of the new election…. as regardless of which Minister becomes the Acting Caretaker PM they have the duty to submit the amendment decree to the King to specify the new date of the general election (ภายหลังที่ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ….นายศุภชัย สมเจริญ ประธานกรรมการการเลือกตั้งให้สัมภาษณ์ ยืนยันว่า การสิ้นสภาพของรักษาการนายกรัฐมนตรีดังกล่าว ไม่กระทบต่อการจัดการเลือกตั้ง ส.ส.ครั้งใหม่ ที่กำลังจะมีขึ้นโดยหลังจากนี้ กกต. ยังเดินหน้าจัดการเลือกตั้งต่อไป และไม่ว่ารัฐมนตรีคนใดจะขึ้นมาดำรงตำแหน่งรักษาการแทนนายกรัฐมนตรี ก็ย่อมมีหน้าที่ต้องทูลเกล้าทูลกระหม่อมถวายพระราชกฤษฎีกา แก้ไขเพิ่มเติมกำหนดให้วันเลือกตั้ง ส.ส.เป็นการเลือกตั้งทั่วไป )