Thailand's first democratically elected parliament since the overthrow of military rule over a year ago was formally opened in Bangkok on Wednesday (5 February).
GV Old Parliament House
GV Members of Parliament arriving (4 shots)
GV INT Prince Mother speaking
GV Members of Parliament listening
Gv Princess Mother speaking
GV Members of Parliament
GV Princess Mother leaving (2 shots)
GV EXT Members of Parliament leaving (2 shots)
MV Seni Pramoj poses for photographers and leaves (3 shots)
Initials BB/2130 WH/MR/BB/2200
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Background: Thailand's first democratically elected parliament since the overthrow of military rule over a year ago was formally opened in Bangkok on Wednesday (5 February).
The 269-seat National Assembly -- representing 22 political parties -- was opened by Princess Sri Sangwan. King Bhumibol Adulyadei, her son, was prevented from presiding over the ceremony, at the old Parliament Building, because he is recovering from pneumonia.
The event crowned 15 months of furious political activity in Thailand since a student-led uprising removed Field-Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn from office.
The Princess Mother began her opening address by congratulating the newly elected members. She then urged the deputies and 100 senators to work for the security and prosperity of the country's 40 million people.
The Moderate Democrat Party has the most seats -- seventy-two -- but their bid to form a coalition government with the social Agrarian Party has broken down.
The Democrat leader, Mr. Seni Pramoj, was expected to be nominated by the speaker as Prime Minister but, following the surprise election of a right-wing speaker, he is unlikely to get the job.
Mr. Chatichai Choonhayan of the conservative National Party is now expected to lead another coalition -- which is not, itself, predicted to survive for long in Thailand's unstable political climate.