PHOTO: Facebook page of Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul
With HM The King opening parliament on May 24, it is hoped that the political horse-trading may be over when the new lower house sits for the first time. The two parties that hold the key to a workable majority coalition are the Democrats and Bhumjaithai. They have been prevaricating for more than a month about which way they are leaning – pro-Junta or pro-democracy.
With neither side having enough MPs to form a coalition, speculation has increased that the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties could perform a “kingmaker” role. Photos from a working lunch today indicate they’re certainly in active talks to break the current deadlock.
The two parties together hold 103 seats in the House of Representatives, 148 short of a majority but enough to gain leverage against the rival coalitions.
The Democrats and Bhumjaithai won 52 and 51 MPs, respectively, but both remained undecided on which camp to join in the Parliament.
On Tuesday, Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul posted photos on Facebook of a working dinner with Democrat’s secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on and Prachuabkirikhan MP Montri Panoynon.
“We’re working here, not just dining. It’s exactly like what we’ve said before,” Anutin wrote.
The photos showed the trio sharing a meal and Anutin and Chalermchai shaking hands, smiling.
This raised questions about whether the two parties would create an alliance to help form a coalition to end the political deadlock.
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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