PHOTO: The horse-trading continues
Nearly two months after the March 24 election and still no government formalised. The horse-trading has been fast and furious with rumours and speculation running rife over recent days. It is thought that some announcements will be made today or tomorrow in the lead up to the opening of parliament on Friday.
But it’s certainly coming down to key decisions from the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties although, up to yesterday, they had still made no internal final decisions which bloc they would join, although it’s understood they are both leaning towards the pro-Junta camp.
The Democrats met for the first time yesterday under new leader Jurin Laksanavisit, but a decision on its post-election stance was not even on the agenda.
“We’ll meet again to discuss which bloc we are going to or not going to join,” said Jurin, who was voted in as party leader last week.
“The party has its principles and its people-oriented ideology. The members will meet and we will talk about the direction of our work in Parliament.”
Bhumjaithai also did not clarify its position yesterday. The party’s secretary-general Saksiam Chidchob said during an orientation session for MPs and a party meeting in Buri Ram province yesterday, that the responsibility had been vested in party leader Anutin Charnvirakul.
He added that the party had four core conditions: reverence for the monarchy, peace, implementation of the party’s proposals, and stability of the government.
Saksiam said none of the parties had approached Bhumjaithai yet, but Anutin will hold meetings with different parties in the next couple of days before making a decision on which bloc to join.
Observers put this uncertainty down to unfinished horse-trading and jockeying for key positions and cabinet posts.
The likelihood of both Democrat and Bhumjaithai backing the Phalang Pracharat-led coalition appears to be accentuated by the pro-democracy camp’s desperation. Pheu Thai have even offered to sacrifice the PM’s post, despite having the most number of MPs in Parliament, to gain support from the two parties.
Sources said dissatisfaction with the seats being offered was the only factor preventing Democrat and Bhumjaithai from announcing their pro-junta stance.
The two parties reportedly are not satisfied as most of the key ministries are being handed over to Phalang Pracharat figures.
It is believed that the Democrat Party will be offered the post of speaker of the lower house while Bhumjaithai is expected to get the post of second deputy speaker.
Separately, Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s fate in politics hangs by a thread despite his party’s successful debut.
The Constitutional Court will on Thursday discuss whether he should be disqualified for allegedly holding shares in a media company. If found guilty, Thanathorn can be banned from elections for 20 years and jailed for one to 10 years.
SOURCE: The Nation
Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises
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
Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament
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.
Sira Jenjaka, a Palang Pracharat MP for Bangkok, says PPRP should oversee key portfolios which handle infrastructure and transport development projects initiated by the last administration.
- 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.
“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn
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
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