Wan Muhamad Noor Matha from the Prachachart Party has been chosen unanimously to become the House Speaker of the Thai Parliament.
On Tuesday, July 4th, the 500 Members of the House of Representatives convened at the Parliament to choose the house speaker and the two deputy speakers. The Parliament had been officially opened the evening before by His Royal Majesty The King and Her Royal Majesty The Queen.
After a long period of bickering between the two main government coalition partners Move Forward and Pheu Thai, the two eventually came to an agreement that they would vote for Wan Muhamad as the main House Speaker. This was done as a compromise as neither party would initially budge on allowing their own candidate to be House Speaker, an important role responsible for moving through legislation in Parliament.
Wan Muhamad has been a house speaker previously and is one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in Thailand, originally hailing from Yala in the Deep South near Malaysia. He is 79-years-old, born on May 11th, 1944, and has a history of being fair and impartial which is why all parties eventually agreed to nominate him to resolve the nearly seven week argument over who would take the House Speaker role.
As a result, Wan Muhamad has been selected as the new House Speaker after running unopposed. He later thanked the Parliament on his Facebook account saying, “I will fulfill my duties with political neutrality and will humbly uphold to the instructions bestowed by His Majesty the King, as granted to the members of the 26th Parliament on July 3rd.”
Wan Muhamad is a founder of the Wahdah group, a small lobby of Muslim politicians from the South of Thailand. He has been involved in Thai politics for decades and has also been in roles such as a Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Ministry of Transportation, and other prominent roles. Many of these were under the government of now-exiled and controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He is seen as a staunch supporter of democracy especially in recent years and has been praised for his statements recently against coups and the past nine years of essentially military Junta control originally led in a coup by Caretaker Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
The next step after House Speaker was chosen is to set a date in Parliament for the vote for Prime Minister which is sure to be something to keep an eye on and an event we will cover closely here at TPN media over the next several weeks. It is possible to happen on or around July 13th.
As of press time at 1:00 P.M. voting for the Deputy House Speakers are currently underway and will be updated when completed.