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Election

Another week of negotiations and still no clear coalition emerges

The Thaiger

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Another week of negotiations and still no clear coalition emerges | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation – Palang Pracharat pose for a show of unity amongst complete turmoil

Democrats walking out of meetings, deals made then broken days later, pending court cases over MPs’ eligibility – it’s never a dull day in Thai politics as we stumble towards a new parliament.

Here are the current important milestones you need to know about…

• After last weekend’s house elections for the leaders and deputy leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate, HM The King must now endorse the nominated candidates, voted by MPs and Senators. Only after that step can the parliament look to a vote on the crucial PM position.

• Somsak Thepsuthin, leader of the Sam Mitr (Three Allies) faction of the pro-army Palang Pracharath Party is scoffing at rumours he would take his 30 MPs and defect to the Pheu Thai Party unless his group gets the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry portfolio. This morning he’s denied the rumours.

• Future Forward is insisting on nominating its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as a prime ministerial candidate on behalf of the seven-party alliance led by the Pheu Thai Party

• Meanwhile Pheu Thai provisionally named three people as prime ministerial candidates — Khunying Sudarat, Mr Chadchart, and former justice minister Chaikasem Nitisiri. However, Khunying Sudarat said on Thursday that she does not want to be prime minister, but was ready to work with the party.

• Palang Pracharat politicians say they will revisit Cabinet portfolio offers for a potential coalition after key potential partner parties (Democrats and Bhumjaithai) expressed discomfort at the involvement of the junta chief in deciding ministry posts.

• Yesterday’s ‘Animal Farm’ gaff will do nothing to help the credibility of caretaker PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Prayut recommended the book for Thais, citing something about the co-operation of the animals in the book. He appeared oblivious to the irony of the situation where Orwell’s famous book was about the failure of democracy and the emergence of dictatorships. Some in the media are describing the gaff as Prayut’s ‘watch’ moment (in reference to Prawit’s luxury watch scandal). We’ll just call it ‘FarmGate’ for now.

The longer all the horse-trading continues the less chance there will be for any one group to form a solid majority and lead a viable government. Certainly there will be little mandate for any party as no clear majority has been won following the March election.

The posturing and walk-outs should be seen as nothing more than diva tactics to grab media attention and focus attention on one faction’s claims and demands. The real negotiations are being held behind closed doors and during long phone calls. As of Friday afternoon it would be difficult to predict the next step. But the afternoon is young…

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Election

Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises | The Thaiger

Amidst rumours circulating that the Palang Pracharat Party may renege on some of the promises it made to secure MP votes from the Democrats and Bhumjaithai, the Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanavisit says he believes the Palang Pracharat party will keep its promises.

Thepthai Senpong MP, a key Democrat party member, is warning that the coalition government will be in big trouble if the promise is broken. He says the coalition government would “function with great difficulty” if the Palang Pracharat party does not stick to the promises it made to the Democrats, according to Thai PBS.

Meanwhile, Somsak Thepsutin, one of the Sam Mitr faction within Palang Pracharat, says that if one of their group isn’t offered the agriculture minister’s post (reportedly offered to the Democrats as part of the ‘deal’), the promises they made with Thai voters during the election campaign could be affected.

Somsak has already spoken of his aspirations to become the next agriculture minister, despite the portfolio being used as a political football during negotiations with the Democrats.

But the new leader of the Democrats, Jurin Laksanavisit insists that the issue of the quota of ministries for his MPs has already been settled. He re-iterated yesterday that Palang Pracharat would not go back on its promises to the Democrats. He added that he had not been informed of any changes to their arrangements despite being aware of the media reports about the prevarication.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Nation

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Election

Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament | The Thaiger

Election – check. Vote for PM – check. New government sworn in – not quite yet.

There is still a reported back-room fight over cabinet portfolios between factions in the Palang Pracharat Party. Several key ministries were offered to Bhumjaithai and Democrat MPs in return for voting for Prayut Chan-o-cha as PM on Wednesday.

Now that Prayut’s been installed back behind the big desk at government house, there have been sources reporting wrangling and possible back-tracking over the promises made preceding the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

  • The Democrats were promised the agriculture, commerce and social development ministries while the Bhumjaithai were reportedly offered the Transport Ministry post.
  • Palang Pracharat MPs claim that, as the leading party in the coalition, it should control key ministries to follow through on its election promises.
  • PPRP list MP Somsak Thepsuthin, a leading figure of the “Sam Mitr” faction in Palang Pracharat, claims the party needs control of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and that PM Prayut will have a final say on the matter (a notion that was flatly denied by the PPRP last week).
  • Palang Pracharat MP Buddhipongse Punnakanta admits the quota of cabinet posts for coalition parties “might” change but didn’t detail any of the Cabinet position affected, including the position of agriculture minister.
  • Newly elected House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, a former Democrat PM, waded into the issue yesterday saying he was sure that Palang Pracharat would honour the promises made in regards to Cabinet posts offered to the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
  • Democrat leader Jurin Laksanavisit says the deal with the PPRP was singed and sealed and believes it would be honoured.
  • Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charvirakul says the agreement with the PPRP remains unchanged, and insisted the party will push for its election pledges to be implemented.
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Election

“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn

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“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn | The Thaiger

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40 year old Future Forward leader who was up against Prayut Chan-o-cha for the position of PM yesterday, says that the pro-democracy alliance hasn’t conceded defeat but, he says, were “robbed of their victory”.

He is vowing to work harder outside parliament to prove that to the people.

“This election is just one battle in the long journey to achieve democracy. We fiercely believe that, in the end, our day will come. Dictatorship cannot resist the winds of change, the winds of democracy. The people will cry for freedom, cry for justice.”

Thanathorn was nominated by the Pheu Thai-led alliance as their sole PM candidate for yesterday’s vote, admitted that he had little hope that both the Democrat and the Bhumjaithai parties would make the “right decision”. Without their vote the Pheu Thai alliance wouldn’t have a majority in the lower house to make a stand (even though the Senate’s votes – 250 – would have carried Prayut Chan-o-cha over the finish line anyway). As it was he only missed winning the vote in the lower house by a handful of votes.

Thai PBS reports that, despite the election defeat, the firebrand young politician pleaded with all democracy advocates not to lose hope, but to move forward with him.

“I would like to tell my brothers and sisters that this is not our end, it is just the beginning,” he said, adding that the election result was a proof that they did not work hard enough and must strive harder.

“Future Forward party would divide its work and resources into three main areas; its MPs will undertake legislative work and check the performance of the government, the party will prepare for the forthcoming local elections and strengthen the party.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS

“We were robbed of victory” - Future Forward's Thanathorn | News by The Thaiger

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