Chuwit’s first day in Thai parliament: Moving chairs, literally (UPDATED)

Originally published at Siam Voices on August 4, 2011

NOTE: This article was published on Thursday, August 4. On the Friday, August 5, when parliament convened to appoint a new prime minister, Chuwit created a mini-scandal over the very same subject as below that got him eventually thrown out of the chamber. All details about his antics in the Lower House can be read here.

This week, the new Thai parliament has begun to convene for the first time since the general elections on July 3, which will not only be remembered for Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother’s Pheu Thai Party’s big victory, but also for the astonishing underdog win by Chuwit Kalomvisit and his Rak Prathet Thai Party. The former massage parlor-tycoon turned anti-corruption vigilante (as previously featured here) campaigned with only 11 party-list candidates and won a sensational four-seat-mandate, mostly because of his unique straight-talking, no-nonsense, in-your-face style, but also partly thanks to protest votes – especially from the youth. Right from the onset, Chuwit’s underdog party declared itself to be an opposition watchdog – watching every single footstep of the new government.

So, when parliament came together a day after the official opening ceremony presided by the Crown Prince (that’s why they were all wearing their uniforms that day), there were some small reports about a little disturbance in the assembly – now who could that be…?

(…) when the MPs came to the assembly hall, Chuwit Kalomvisit MP of the Rak Prathet Thai Party has switched the labels of the Chart Thai Pattana Party, who were sitting in front with the other coalition partners of the government, with those of his own party. Parliament officials tried to explain the situation (…) but Chuwit claims that the seats of the Rak Prathet Thai Party have no good feng shui, that’s why he wants to change seats with the Chart Thai Pattana Party. Despite disapprovals of  parliament officials, Chuwit refuses to move. Chart Thai Pattana Party leader Chumpol Silpa-Archa and the party’s chief advisor Sanan Kajornprasart were not satisfied, but still decided to sit in the back instead.

“ชูวิทย์”ป่วนอีก!! ย้ายป้ายพรรค ชทพ.ในสภา ขอนั่งแทน อ้างฮวงจุ้ยไม่ดี “ชุมพล-เสธ.หนั่น”ไม่พอใจ“, Matichon, August 2 2011 – translation by me

See, Chuwit already knows how to make a mark! And just minutes before the publishing of this article Chuwit tweeted this:

First come first serve, this is democracy country, so I came first, I take a seat

Tweet by Chuwit Kalomvisit (@chuvit_online), on Thu Aug 04 11:18:02

We will hear a lot from him in the near future soon!

Saksith Saiyasombut is a Thai blogger and journalist currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. He can be followed on Twitter @Saksith and now also on his public Facebook page here.

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