Chuan Leekpai from Thailand's Democrat Party elected House speaker

2019-05-26 07:55:18 GMT2019-05-26 15:55:18(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BANGKOK, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's former prime minister Chuan Leekpai from the Democrat Party was elected as the speaker of the House of Representatives on Saturday.

He was nominated by pro-government Palang Pracharath Party while another nominee is former deputy prime minister Sompong Amornvivat from the Pheu Thai Party.

"Chuan got 258 votes and Sompong got 235, which means Chuan will be the new speaker of the House of Representatives," acting speaker Chai Chidchob said.

Under the Thai constitution, the House speaker will also be the president of the National Assembly who will convene the lower house and the Senate to jointly elect a new prime minister.

Chuan who had earlier rejected the Democrat Party's plan to name him as the House speaker changed his mind after the Palang Pracharath Party decided to nominate him Friday night.

During Saturday's session, the Members of Parliament (MPs) engaged in lengthy debate over a Palang Pracharath Party bid to have the House meeting adjourned. Opponents to such moves insisted that the House meeting be held on schedule and be not adjourned only because the Palang Pracharath may not have been well prepared.

However, the MPs voted 248 against 246 to proceed with the voting for the House speaker and deputy House speakers.

It remains to be seen how soon the House speaker, in his concurrent capacity as the parliament president, will call a joint parliamentary meeting to have MPs and senators vote for a new prime minister after the March 24 election.

Chuan Leekpai, 80, a senior member of the Democrat Party, served as the Thai prime minister for two terms, the first between 1992 and 1995, and the second between 1997 and 2001.